Tim buys a book. Tim accidentally summons a demon. Hilarity, carnage, ensue.
Whenever Hoss and I make plans to visit a timezone that experiences tomorrow before we do, someone always asks why. As in, “why would you want to go to there?” spoken in the same tone you'd ask a guy planning to plug his schlong into an electrical socket why he hated living so much. So why? Why travel? Though I know the question is generally asked in the spirit of purest xenophobia, it’s still valid.
I don’t have an answer.
As previously mentioned, travel doesn’t provide much in the way of enlightenment. It has a certain sexiness among other travelers, but friends, neighbors and coworkers are rarely impressed. Travel wont earn you a promotion, nor does it broadcast in high definition.
I usually tell people I travel because catching whatever local disease (or falling victim to whatever violent splinter group) builds character. And what the hell, it gives me a chance to take pictures of something that isn’t my dog.
Why not Cabo?
Why Siagon instead of the Bahamas?
Why seek discomfort?
Again, I don't know. Serious travelers are always looking for a bigger fix. You been to Prague? Dubrovnik? Boy that ain’t shit. This Swiss bastard over here, he just got back from Nauru, a country so small that just by his being there the human population doubled. Next year he’s joining an expedition to the center of the motherfucking earth. So there’s obviously a measure of dick-thumping involved. I’m not immune. Once upon a time Paris spiked my tourist meter; it had the Eiffel tower and a cathedral made of bones. Now? Slovenia looks like Austria, which looks like Germany, which looks like the insides of a WalMart. If you’ve ever wondered what would inspire a person to summit Everest, this is the reason: to one up that Swiss bastard.
Which is stupid. Who can even remember the Swiss bastard’s name, let alone inform him that he's been usurped?
I always return from these expeditions discontented and confused. We spend thousands of dollars for what eventually percolates down to a handful of memories and maybe a good anecdote. Spain is sangria by that bridge they threw revolutionaries off of. Italy is that guy shouting “sonofabeecha!” in the middle of the night. Cambodia is a heat, a hunger and butterflies. Turkey will be tea and learning to play backgammon. Little things that don’t even matter.
But they do matter. We start out in this life muscle and sinews, but we leave it as a collection of memories. Travel fills some of those spans inside of me that would otherwise be just a white noise of time spent doing nothing much. I know of no more reliable way to turn dollars in to pieces of myself.