The suitcases that we have been living out of for the last two weeks are large and blue, made of the durable canvas that all suitcases seem to be constructed from. We bought them for our wedding two years ago, when I was stuffing dresses and suits and cuff links and fashion tape into them. It is like visiting with an old friend to pull them out again. We have gotten good at schlepping them from the backs of cars and onto conveyor belts at airports and very good at ignoring the comments of the airline personnel when they see the size of the larger one.
Just how much does that weigh?
Enough. It weighs enough.
We are in our third country since we left home and are once again walking on the left hand side of the sidewalk instead of the right, enjoying tea and biscuits instead of stroopwafel and frites. This has been a trip that has been jam packed with visiting friends and family, but we’ve managed to do a little touring with just the two of us, which is not something we’ve had much opportunity to do over the last six years. We never took a honeymoon, largely because we could never agree on where to go. This trip has been a good lesson in that it doesn’t really matter where we go — it is about the adventure, the unwrapping of new places. It is about being outside of our comfort zone, together, and exploring.
It has been a long time since traveling gave me this sense of freedom and playfulness. I bought a new bag, a Harris Tweed, which has just enough room for my notebooks and my camera — the essentials for making art on the go. It straps across my torso and just putting it on makes me feel like an adventurer. I have been taking time to take photographs, to stop and really look at the world around me, to see, to comment, to describe. When I made our arrangements, I was sure to book in extra time; a night here, a few hours there with no objectives, because I knew that what I needed most was hours without obligations.
We have been visiting with my in-laws, who have been very kindly hosting us and feeding us ridiculous quantities of food and tea. I have been basking in their company, in hearing the old family stories, in seeing the family traits that they share with my husband. My Beloved is a natural born storyteller and I have heard most of the stories before, but they’re good enough that you can listen to them again and again. With the others here, I’ve been hearing them from different angles, different perspectives, and there has been so much laughter and love. It has been a really great thing to be immersed in, this tapestry of history that weaves this family together.
Tomorrow we return to the real world, the busy city of skyscrapers and ambition, the place that hosts our lives. I am glad to be going home, because it is the place that has the cats, but I am also glad to be taking the memories of the last two weeks with me. I am coming home inspired and ready to go, with ideas and art on the forebrain, I’ll be glad to no longer be living out of our suitcases, but I’m so grateful to be reminded why it’s important that we do sometimes, because being out of the normal parameters of our lives puts them in context. And it might be a little while before we take to the skies again, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start dreaming about it.