12 June 2008

When Travel Disappoints

smallest art gallery II
Originally uploaded by Katherine H.
I fully expected to fall in love with Nashville. So when I didn’t, I was perplexed. I might even go so far as to say that I felt a bit betrayed by my steady companion called Solo Travel.

Solo Travel had spurred me on my three day jaunt to Lisbon in the dead of winter. Solo Travel had seen me through two solitary weeks in the interior of Sicily. Solo Travel had been my muse and guide through NYC, Calgary, Chicago, Seattle, Spokane, and countless other locales. Good and bad, I thought I knew what to expect.

Where did I go so wrong? It’s rare —never-before-happened-rare— that within three hours of landing somewhere I want to turn around and leave. Pitch a fit. Pound my fist into a pillow. Pretend I never rented a car.

Sigh. But I had. And there I was. With four long days stretching out before me and an entire state to explore. I was well researched. I had checked out books from the library. I had scoured the internet for restaurant recommendations, hip boutiques, farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and gazed at local photos on Flickr.

I hesitated as I wrote the title to this post. Really, doesn’t it say more about me, the traveler, rather than the locale? How can a girl who loves Iowa be thrown for a loop by Tennessee? I guess I discovered the place I can’t find my groove. Like pesky sand that won’t shake out of my favorite shoes.

But as some astute friends pointed out to me, I learned some things in a very visceral way I would not have otherwise: I’m a west-coast gal. Please don’t ask me to tolerate humidity. I want to further my education, but the ranking of the University isn’t as important to me as the faculty and their research.

After some reflection, I came to another conclusion. In thinking about my travels last year, which I dubbed my year of Intentional Travel – well, this trip was so unsatisfying in comparison. No friends or family on the other end. No one to explore and create memories with along the way. And so I find my plans for summer travel shifting and transforming a bit this year. Perhaps I need to break the routine of the past few years, and point myself in yet another direction. A direction I can’t yet anticipate, and will challenge me in new ways.

Where I end up? I don’t know. But when I arrive, I’ll let you know.


erin :: the olive notes said...

oh no, I'm sorry you didn't have a good time. That feeling of being stuck isn't a good one...whether is it on a trip or in life's routine. Hopefully you'll find something fun for your next step :)

fourthirtyam said...

Shoot. I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully you'll continue exploring your options. I'm sure the right program is out there.

Laura said...

Sorry to hear that my home state disappointed...sniff, sniff. :-) But, good that you figured out you're a West Coast gal (and not up to the humidity) before making a major move and educational commitment. Hope your next trip is more fun!

Blackjack Games said...

Such is a life. There's nothing to be done.