The Movement of Travel

Mary E Nolte

I took a few weeks off of blogging because I was wrapped up in traveling. My trip to New York City for BookCon completely overtook my brain for the week leading up to it, and then the week after I couldn’t seem to get back my energy and just didn’t end up writing at all.

But I’m back here now so hi, hello. I might do a real recap of BookCon at some point but right now I’m not even sure where I’d begin.

We left for NYC at 11:00PM on Thursday and traveled Megabus overnight. We arrived in New York City after eight hours of bus-napping, in a daze somewhere in Manhattan.

On the way home, we took an 8-hour bus trip that left NYC at 2:20PM and arrived in Pittsburgh at 10:20PM.

I realized something in the comparison of these two trips. It’s not just that I love going to new places and experiencing new things. I also love the actual travel part of traveling, the movement of it.

Ever since I was a child, at the end of every car ride, I wished that we still had further to go. Every bus ride for a field trip that I took in school was one that I wished was at least an hour longer. It wasn’t so much about where we were going but the fact that we got to go.

There’s something soothing to me about movement, about watching the scenery change, about long conversations with my travel mates or the meditative white noise of the road. Something about listening to music and not feeling like I should be doing something else, or reading and writing, and accepting any kind of work I get done as a bonus instead of not enough.

And in riding that overnight bus on the way to New York I lost the magic of it. I missed watching the scenery from Pennsylvania to New York, I missed riding through green hills and forests to arrive in one of the biggest cities in the world.

I missed reading, I missed eight quiet hours spent by myself, I missed listening to music and writing. And on the way back, when we were deep into the sixth hour and I found myself wishing I had more time on the bus, that was when I realized I had done it all wrong.

I know that most people dread long periods of travel, but I find it some of the most useful thinking time, the most useful reading time, the most useful writing time. I enjoy sitting in airports alone on layovers, I love long bus rides and train rides and car rides.

I know that I’m maybe in the minority here, but I do imagine that for most people, there is room to find beauty in the movement part of travel, to appreciate the privilege of it, to recognize how lucky we are to not always have to stay in the same place.

I think that for me, travel makes me, ironically, slow down. There are only so many things that I can get done while on a long trip. There are only so many things that I can take with me to worry after.

I think that next time, I’ll pick the long ride that I have to stay awake for instead of the overnight one. Because I have to say, I’m looking forward to layovers and to riding, to the movement of getting where I’ll be next.

 

(AKA Florida, in exactly four days.)

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6 thoughts on “The Movement of Travel

  1. Enjoy Florida!
    You must be one of the few people who enjoy the actual travel to the destination. While I do not mind plane layovers, or even train rides, car and bus rides are not my favorites. Maybe it’s the confinement. The fact that I can’t get up and walk somewhere.

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  2. I actually agree with you! I like being in a travelling situation where I can’t do anything much other than read. I commute an hour to work but it’s a great opportunity to listen to audio books. And people pity me for my long journey… 😉

    Like

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