By Chuck Woodbury
Originally published in September, 2011
I don’t want to be home. I want to be traveling again, preferably on the road with my RV, roaming great highways and back roads, taking pictures, writing stories, meeting people.
When I am traveling, I feel more alive, happier. Traveling serves my short attention span well.
A few weeks ago in England, exploring my father’s old World War II airbase and the East Anglia region where 35 World War II airbases were located, was an eye-opening, albeit somber experience. Brave young Americans came here, lived here, died here or in the skies to the east. I learned much here about my father and about history; my head spun, hyper-stimulated at soaking up so much new knowledge.
When I was in high school I had little interest in history. In college, I had a great professor and I developed some interest. Now, I can’t get enough. When you travel, you learn not only where you are “now” but what happened there before. I love that part.
LATE LAST MONTH, attending a church service in Westminster Abbey was incredible: talk about history! A week later, pulling off the road in my campervan a few feet from icebergs in Iceland and then a few hours later on a landscape that looked like Mars . . . I was in heaven — geologic history in my face! Now, home again, I dream of where I’ve been. Images of places dart in and out of my thoughts and I try to remember where they were. Memories of Iceland haunt me: I want to go back. It’s spectacular. So beautiful. For the first time in a long while I felt a very strong connection with a place.
So here I sit at my computer with wanderlust driving me loopy. I have a bunch of family financial stuff to attend to. It’s got me planted firmly at home. It’s complicated, and boring beyond boring; if I don’t end up in Heaven I’ll spend my eternity as an accountant.
Where I really yearn to be right now is rolling down a back road into a small town, pausing to gab with the owner of the hardware store or the gum-chewing waitress at Betty’s Cafe. I want to end my day sitting by a campfire, watching flames dance beneath a starry sky.
It looks now like I can’t get away in my RV until at least January, and I can hardly wait. I generally don’t like time passing fast because I just keep getting older and I’m not into aging due to eventual death, which does not interest me. But, right now I’m totally in favor of getting to January pronto, which, as a bonus, means my dreaded Christmas shopping ordeal will pass faster. I had a physical today. The nurse asked me how tall I was. I said, “I used to be 5-10, but I think I have already begun to shrink.” So I told her 5-9. Gravity be damned!
January can’t come fast enough. I gotta go.