It’s 3am, dark as I leave for the airport. Suitcase wheels on concrete break the silence. Waves on the beach across the road, barely murmur. I’m off: A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step (Lao Tzu).
School holidays. Visit family in USA. Strengthen ties. Broaden horizons. Expand minds. Break routines. See, smell, hear other places. Taste other foods. See with different eyes: Who lives sees much. Who travels sees more.
On three planes. Read (Talking about Jane Austen in Baghad, A House Somewhere). Write (my journal). Complete crosswords (without looking at the answers – mostly). Look out the window. Clouds above and sea below. The coastline of San Francisco looms ahead and we dip low over the water to come into land (tomato bisque in sourdough soup bowl).
Another plane. Smaller this time. Big sky. Clear views. Brown, orange and beige land lie below. Blue rivers slither across the dryness. Patchwork quilts of crops appear. Sworls of green. Very different from the wheatfarms of the mallee all those years ago. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” said St Augustine.
Arrive. Open arms and wide smiles. Hugs all around. In the car. Thankfully, not driving. On the other side of the road. To the house. More welcomes. Look around. What’s the same? What’s different? “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things,” said Henry Miller. No school concerns here. Travelling stimulates and refreshes me as I drink in myriad experiences.
On the way, see, smell and taste different foods.
Idaho trout and ratatouille. Blueberry muffins. Raspberry muffins. Zucchini sticks. Sri Lankan chicken. Alaskan halibut. Huckleberry pancakes. Moussaka. Huge sandwiches from The Blue Moose Cafe with crystal clear water in mason jars. And lastly, strong, aromatic filtered coffee!
Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind (Seneca). That’s true for me. I’m stimulated, enthused and refreshed by travelling. When parents say they are taking their child out of school for a trip I send them off with a personalised ‘Travel Book’ for the child to record experiences (drawings, writing, tickets, pamphlets) and say, “Enjoy… I can’t give Tim or Tam those experiences within these four walls!”
Samuel Johnson explains, “The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”