I awoke as I generally do, grumpy, to find a lone email awaiting my attention: another flight notification. I hadn’t recovered from the last sojourn, just days earlier, and yet, there I was, staring down tomorrow’s five-a.m. fate. My initial thought: How does Beyonce do it? Then: What am I doing?
I used to be good at this traveling shit and it defined my identity. I mean, I considered it an inherent blessing the way I could roll out of bed at any odd hour and from any odd location only to then drive into the still-ripening dawn daylight. Or the way I could conjure a smile and carry a conversation despite the bedlam of my sleep-deprived brain.
But now? I can’t even discuss the weather. I struggle with eye contact. This morning was proof, on my flight, as I sat comatosed to my neighbor’s complaints of airline discomfort. I nodded in indifference as he gave up his efforts before they even really began.
I was a vagabond and I took pride in the level of inconvenience I could endure, as if the self-induced torments of travel somehow earned me new stripes. But now, when camping, I’m secretly ashamed of using a sleeping pad. Now, when dining, I’m disappointed that I no longer see dumpsters as a viable option.
Financial stability’s weakened me. Comfort’s crept into the cracks, setting anchors like weeds to roots, and now I almost prefer the assured solitude of my bedroom to the unknown possibilities of the open road. But it’s still a lifestyle I respect, and, maybe, one I just need a new reason to pursue.
During the month of August I was home for ten of the thirty-one days. My biggest concerns when departing at such lengths are if I’ll find alone time and when I’ll have moments to write. But these forced breaks from my creative neurosis are necessary because they remind me that holistic living is important, that I need to invest in my health and relationships just as much as I do my craft.
It’s good to take time off.
This weekend will find me in Joshua Tree National Park for a wedding, as one of my former adventure companions begins writing the next chapter of his adulthood. I’ll visit Joshua Tree, much like I have in the past, but this time for very different reasons.
The road, though known to me, has started its new dissertation on life. It, much like me, is adapting with the changes.