For as long as I can remember I have always loved to travel. Never content to sit at home, I was always planning a trip to somewhere.
The travel bug may have struck when I was 17 and a friend was headed to Milwaukee to visit relatives. She got a ride to the airport with a friend of hers and asked me if I wanted to come along for something to do.
I looked at the flight board and in a half-whine said, “Wish I could go.”
My friend whipped out her credit card and egged me on.
With $1.49 in my pocket and no change of clothes, I boarded a plane to Milwaukee. I was kind enough to fill out a postcard with a picture of a Delta plane soaring through the friendly skies and mailed it to my parents.
“Hi Mom and Dad! Gone to Milwaukee!” (or something to that effect). No wonder my father’s hair went gray early.
I still remember the names of the people I stayed with all these years later. College girls who were too happy to loan me clothes and take me to dinner at Uno’s in Chicago.
The travel bug had bitten me square in the backside; I was hooked and wanted more.
I never wanted to stay home. Spinning like Mary Tyler Moore, arms outstretched, at Place de la Concorde in Paris. Sunning on the white sands of Bahamian beaches. Taking my grandmother to England for her first trip to Europe. Trying my best to sample as much chocolate as humanly possible in Belgium. Checking my shoes for scorpions in Costa Rica and climbing a volcano in Nicaragua.
I was always scanning travel sites looking for deals, and short notice travel was never much of a problem for my sister, who is my favorite traveling companion.
When I first started plotting my move Downeast, my sister sensibly asked, “How far to the nearest airport?”
Two hours and forty five minutes, one way, to Bangor International Airport, but that was okay as I pointed out, “It isn’t as if I will be driving it once a week, right?”
In two weeks I am headed to sunny Florida to visit my 85 year old grandmother (known to all as “Gram”). I haven’t seen Gram in over a year and miss her terribly.
As the departure date approaches, I find myself dreading it. Nothing to do with Gram, of course; I can’t wait to see her. She is an amazing lady and when I grow up, I want to be just like her.
The problem is, I don’t want to leave home. I don’t want to leave Eastport and fly all the way to Florida (there’s that half-whine again).
I know as soon as I leave the island I will wish I was back home, where I belong.
This attitude has startled me. I was the type who could have my bags packed at a moment’s notice. “Get me outta here” was my motto.
My home is my castle and I have no desire to leave it. What was I running from for all those years when I would be planning my next journey just weeks after returning from a vacation?
What is this about? I have a list of must-see destinations, for God’s sake: Egypt, Botswana, Scotland, Italy, Lithuania….
I realized that aside from some of the hardships that come with living in Downeast Maine that I have become content. At long last I am happy with where I am, and contentment is a beautiful thing.
So I will be flying the friendly skies in October with mixed feelings. Certainly happiness to see my beloved “Gram” but also warm in the knowledge that I will come home again, back to Eastport, back where I belong.