Traveling Man

  • November 11, 2012
  • Scott
  • 2 Comments

I can really relate to this blog post that I ran across thanks to Twitter.

I’ve accumulated over 1 million miles on one airline, and at least a million more on the other airlines combined.  I’ve been in jobs that require a significant amount of travel my whole career, though there are plenty of others who have traveled even more than I have.  I do a few things to mitigate travel. I like to find truly local restaurants when I’m traveling.  I try to catch up with friends that might live in the area.  I try to bring family when it works out.  But the blog post quotes a more negative take on the subject.

I thought the perspective was particularly interesting:

The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that’s perfect (we all know there’s no Shangri-La), but just for a place that’s “just right for you.” But the curse is that the odds of finding “just right” get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.

I’m lucky.  I found Austin early in my life (just after college).  It took the travel around the country and the world to figure out that Austin was really home. I don’t know if I would have figured that out without the travel.  That feeling of “home” is strongest when I land in Austin, and when I set foot on campus at Stanford.

Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can’t travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you’ve seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.

I have had a completely different experience.  My friendships pick up where they left off . Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  You forgive the small trespasses and what you remember is the bright arc of friendship and inspiration you receive from these people you meet.

Some of my very best friends are friends I see only rarely – years passing between each visit.  But I don’t love them any less for the time inbetween.  Do you love your kids less after a few days apart?  No, you don’t.  I was recently reminded of this visiting my childhood home while on a work trip, and visiting with family friends.

If you feel like you’re suffering from missing all of these amazing people you’ve met in your travels, I have a piece of advice- move somewhere that they’ll all want to come visit.  And then make sure they do.  Buy them tickets if you have to.  And once in a while, get on a plane and go visit them. Bring your family. It will be fun.

 

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