Every morning for the past several weeks I’ve awakened with a mixed bag of “to-dos” rattling around in my brain. What needs to be done before we move out on June 29 must be infiltrating my dreams because even before my days have started, my head hurts! By the end of every day I check off several items from the list. Order duffel bags; check. Complete change of address forms; check. Make dentist appointments; check. Locate our birth certificates for our visa applications; check. And every time I delete one item from the list, three more appear. While taking care of all the logistics for our gap year and getting things done are part of the whole experience, I can’t forget to slow down every few days and lose myself in the emotional preparations. While packing the dozens of books, pictures and knick-knacks from our living room shelves a few days ago, I sat down on the couch and read and reread the following Lawrence Durrell quote I had framed and used as a bookend for our travel book collection many years ago.
“Journeys, like artists, are born and not made.
A thousand differing circumstances contribute to
them, few of them willed or determined by the
will – whatever we may think. They flower
spontaneously out of the demands of our natures –
and the best of them lead us not only outwards
in space, but inwards as well. Travel can be one
of the most rewarding forms of introspection...” -- Lawrence Durrell, Bitter Lemons, 1957
Durrell is one of my favorite travel writers and his evocative prose has enriched my previous trips to Greece and the Mediterranean. What he expresses above is a big part of why we have only a rough idea of where we’ll travel for 12 months. I am certain that our trip will unfold as “our natures” need it to and we want the flexibility to follow where our hearts lead us. So, now that Durrell has helped me sit down, close my eyes and do some careful reflection, it’s time to get back online and cancel the newspaper.