So I’m officially settled into San Francisco and it’s great. Actually, it’s exactly what I wanted and imagined for myself when I was sitting in hammock in India, realizing that my future was not there and I asked myself, where is my future? San Francisco came to mind and as soon as I got home I set about getting here and putting all the mechanics in place to create a life here.
And, still, I get a little mooney about travel.
My thoughts go to past experiences and I start to think about a next trip and where/what I can do. But these thoughts are different than travel thoughts before. They are not from the heart, they are from my mind, who is a little bit scared right now at starting all these new things and being in this life for the LONG TERM. It’s more of the escape mindset that my mother always worried I was doing on my other trips, but wasn’t.
So here are three things I’m doing (besides this blog) to keep travel with me, but not my main activity anymore. It helps recreate what I love in a setting of where I truly, from-the-heart want to be (home).
Buyin’ me some travel books
I was Barnes and Noble the other day and just really missing travel. I saw this book about three girls who’d taken a year off and traveled around the world together: The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. I bought it only with a little tinge of jealousy.
Getting my one favorite picture framed for my work desk.
So I’m in Cost Plus and I say to myself: What would make me honor my travel experiences while here in my new settled life? And I was led to the frame section and found a dark wood frame with a drawing of the Taj Mahal on the inside. Brilliant, that was it and I put my own Taj Mahal picture into the frame. It’ll go on my desk when I start on Monday.
Putting together a picture book of my favorite photos.
Ok, it goes without saying that I’m a visual person and believe photographs are the most important and impactful souvenirs of a trip. For my first two Big Trips, I made a photo book on my Mac with the same titles as the blogs: I am a Beginner and Slightly More Advanced. My friend M teased me when I said that I’d looked at these books everyday. What? I protested. Some people have kids, I have my trips. Instead of iPhoto, I downloaded Blurb Book Smart software because it allows me the flexibility of layouts and hooks right into my iPhoto library. Pretty sweet and helps me revel in my experiences versus moon over them and it’s a fun little project with lots of creativity.
Watchin’ those Bollywood movies and listening to all my trip music
I just subscribed to Netflix because it now allows me to stream movies instantly over my Mac. The movies available instantly are not the new releases, but instead I use this service to find Bollywood and foreign films. I’ve laughed at, “Outsourced,” where an American goes to rural India to train call center workers and went through the common things every foreign tourist goes through on a visit: shock, awe, exhaustion, and stomach ailments. I sung along to “Dostana” bright and sunny (and scantily clad) dance number intro that took place in Miami, but with moves that were pure Indian. These movies have worked the same was as my photo albums – reveling in what I love in my own home.
I created a playlist on my iPod that includes the songs from my trips. Some I found on my own and some were introduced to me by people with great music tastes, songs I never would have found on my own. Here’s the list:
- Lemon Tree by Fool’s Garden: The song every backpacker knew and hotel boy had as a ring tone when I was in India the second time. My favorite memory with this song is a friend’s birthday part at a guest house in India – the band started to play this song and everyone – invitees and guests sang along.
- Three songs by the same amazing artist: Idir. These songs were introduced to me in Morocco by Mica, my uni-browed friend who is also a guitarist. “Wherever Idir plays, I go to see him.” After hearing these ethereal songs, I understand the sentiment: Ssendu (Voie Lactee), Tiyri Bw Gaud and A Vava Inouva
- Jai Ho and Dreams of Fire off the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. These songs are pure India. The movie came out right as I returned from my first trip to India and cemented my love for that subcontinent.
- Caterdral by Zelia Duncan. This song is Brazilian and was introduced to me by a Brazilian music lover I briefly dated between trips. I didn’t listen to it for a long time, not until I had some dark moments during the lastest Big Trip. Instead of stressing, I let Zeila’s deep voice help me drift to sleep with a lighter heart.
- Aicha (Mixed Version) by Khaled. I found this song while making my Middle East DVD for my second big trip, but didn’t use it in the finished soundtrack. I didn’t find it again until I went to Morocco and found it on my iPod. The memory that goes with this song is me, on a camel, looking out to the endless golden orange sands of the Sahara desert.
And these are only three things, there’s a travel book club, there’s all the wonderful travel blogs I surf every day, there’s talking about my and your travels…travel’s my passion even when I’m stationary.