What you call your hometown is someone else’s vacation spot. Where we go to stay on holiday is someone’s place of work. Each town exists as a place to call home. To call a getaway. A place to pass through along the interstate. Each measure of land is gifted importance by those that experience it.
There was always a sense of personal failure when I would see tourists squinting at a map in San Francisco on my way to work. I wanted them to find the city enjoyable and worth the trip from wherever they came from. I hoped they could ignore the filth and constant stream of homeless and pan handlers that they were to inevitably meet and to look passed that, and see the city, the state, fresh and exciting. California is my home. It’s what I know and as I get older and visit other places around the world I open my mouth and out pours the state. California is inside of me. It has made me.
My bones are California grown.
The wife and I just toured the Mediterranean Sea. We passed through Spain, Monaco, Italy, and France. It was cruise, and most of the time was spent in a constant state of transit. Fall asleep on one coast to awake in another. The thought of going on a cruise didn’t sit well with me at first. It was a world of old people and flocks of tour groups in port to pillage a foreign city of its charm with cameras. Being somewhat young and vibrant, or wanting to appear to be, I fantasized about us taking trains across Europe and do that generic American format of global travel of backpacks, metros, hostels, and bed and breakfasts. Turns out I don’t have the ability to plan a trip on that level and a cruise gave us what we wanted. We were allowed to see some great cities and the ship did the job of hotel, transportation, and restaurant.
We saw Rome and the Vatican. The Sistine Chapel. Michaelangelo’s David in Florence. What I remember the most was the water at night. Our room’s balcony was twenty five feet above the water where the ship’s hull tore through the sea in deep mystic blue, boiled like gelatin. There was no shore to watch, just the water below folding into itself.
Those night’s at sea I came the closest I’ve ever been to understanding the reason I like traveling. I’ve always loved road trips and hotel stays, those moments between the site seeing and the “important to remember” events. On a balcony with the darkened sea under foot, this is where peace exists and nothing can find you. There are no stresses of work, the drama of normal life is gone. It’s man versus nature. Survival and communication.
This doesn’t need to come across as so serious but there is just something that feels so epic about a quiet moment with your own thoughts, your breath and the sea with nothing in sight, just blue, endless and endless epic blue.
Part I of the upcoming “I took a cruise!” volume of posts.