I’m ready to travel again. Not in a financial sense, unfortunately :( but in feeling. The funny thing about me is that it is more common (usually) for me to miss places than to miss people. The feeling comes on randomly, surges and then ebbs away. It’s like a dull, throbbing ache in my chest, murmuring “go…go…go…” I’d say it’s homesickness, but it’s not for home – I don’t know if it has an official term, but I’ve dubbed it travelsickness. It has been around here and there lately, but I was in a social studies room this week and the teacher had hung posters of the pyramids in Egypt. As soon as I saw them, my heart flickered a little.
I miss the dry, dusky heat of Egypt. I miss the beautiful echoes of the prayer calls and the business signs that accompanied them – “gone for prayer, be back soon.” I miss the hush of mosques, save for the fluttering and clinking of birds exploring the old chandeliers. I miss the cheerful cries of “Welcome to Egypt!” and the sly whispers of “Special gift for you, my friend; step into my shop and see.” I miss the dusty old relics and buildings, achingly beautiful even in their disrepair. I miss trying to literally hold my eyes open to watch the Cairo ballet, but it being so late and me being so tired that I kept missing chunks of that lovely show. I miss the graham cracker snacks from the market by the hotel in Cairo, backwards-facing showers, and rooftop dinners. I miss the view of the pyramids from so many Cairo roads, the sight of lumbering camels, the locals’ love of dance. I miss slurping on cool oranges while lounging on a hot boat deck, cruising the Red Sea.
I miss the lush beauty and sticky heat of Peru. I miss hearing the river lap against small boats, the noise of the jungle at night, the chirps of frogs and birds. I miss the shadowy screened windows, rocking to sleep in a hammock, and the brilliant blaze of the sun rising over the Amazon. I miss spotting snakes in the rafters and limes on every plate, every glass rim. I miss the strange sights of fried insect kabobs and neon-colored Inca Cola. I miss the taste of fresh fish, of fresh fruits, of tangy Pisco Sours. I miss the street kids’ chirps of “un sol, senorita!” and crunching on coca leaves to stave off altitude sickness. I miss being pulled into group dances – flutes, drums, Michael Jackson. I miss the bright colors, the collision of old and new, and climbing crumbling steps. I miss the sight of Peruvians so old and weathered that their skin resembles crinkled tissue paper or fine, aged leather. I miss the sense of lightheartedness that can only come from too many frog-toss drinking games, too many Adios Motherf**kers, too many glasses of home-brewed chicha.
I miss the springtime feel of Spain and Portugal, like everything is blossoming and touched by the sun. I miss the scent of the ocean by the shoreline, of oranges and honeysuckle in Seville, of dust in the old buildings. I miss the rustle of skirts and the click of heels at the late-night flamenco shows; a quiet, alluring sound. I miss people so relaxed that they park their cars three-deep or on road medians and take their children to cafes at 10pm. I miss the sight of windmills, slowly spinning giants on the hillsides, and tales of Don Quixote. I miss stopping to gape at the hooded, barefoot figures carrying crosses in the streets, such wonderous Semana Santa processions, and not minding that I lost my group because I was surrounded by something so hauntingly beautiful. Besides, it’s hard to feel lost in a place that feels like home. I miss the rush sneaking into the liquor store, of-age in Spain but underage back home, and the crunch of rocky sand between my toes at the Costa del Sol. I miss the feeling of history, hanging still in the air like dust motes at the Alhambra and the royal crypts. I miss the people posing at statues, warning us against Communism, sophisticated and taking life at their own pace. I miss ignoring signs to climb down a cliff to stick my toes in the icy Mediterranean water where it crashed and broke against the rocks, claiming that I couldn’t read the danger signs when I got caught (although I definitely could).
I miss how it feels to come home. I miss seeing the shaded, forested roads as if for the first time. I miss the nervous feeling of looking for a familiar face at the airport and the butterflies that come with spotting family and friends. I miss missing American food so much that I want nothing but grilled cheese for every meal for a week straight, eaten while wrapped in my favorite comforter.
My travel piggy bank is looking woefully empty at the moment, but hopefully I find myself headed into this big, beautiful world again sometime soon. The big question is – where to next?