December 13, 2010

Travelers are weird!

Photo taken from one of our flights to/from East Asia.  You are looking at the Arctic glaciers.
It would be impossible at this point to tell you the number of flights I have boarded.  Come to think of it, I couldn't tell you how many flights my 5-year-old has boarded.  There would be absolutely no way to count them.

A traveler like myself has had lots of time to observe my fellow travelers.  People who travel are weird.  If you think about it, how many people in your circle have been to, say, Thailand?  Not many, I would wager.  That's because people have jobs, or they have kids, or they head up the annual rummage sale, etc.  Normal people can't just break away to saunter the streets of wherever.  White people in Asian crowds, for example (who look to me like the white flecks in potting soil) are always wearing hiking gear or flowing skirts and toting worn backpacks.  They drink dark beer and stay out late, eating street food and rarely shaving.  In order to globe trot, most of these people fall into one of the following categories:  independently wealthy, still dependent on their parents (sad but true), involved in questionable activities, and/or have no other responsibilities.  Not many people in your PTA would qualify, would they?

I'll bet, though, that your fellow westerners are a whole light nicer than the ones we meet on the streets over here.  Whenever I've run into one of these beer-and-Birkenstock types, he or she either completely ignores me or gives me a good long scowl.  It's true!  It's as if she is thinking, 'Look, lady, I gave up everything to come over here and find myself, and you think you can trot around town with your kids in tow like some kind of June Cleaver.  This is no suburbia, and I don't want to look at you!'

I'm telling you, travelers are weird.

Of course, there are those folks (though far too few) who are out in the world doing what we are doing, but even we are a rare breed.  Recently, all of our friends over here took a personality test, and every one of us scored high in "good at dealing with change," "high need for adventure," and "flexible."  Of course we did, or we would be eating at Chili's on Friday nights with the rest of you:)

I've always been odd.  When my friends in high school were spending their money at Abercrombie and Fitch, I was saving every penny for traveling.  I never imagined having a house or a car, or walking my kids down the road to the bus stop.  I always saw myself out on the breeze, bringing home exotic gifts for my nieces and nephews.  Funny how what we were meant for comes to be.  I never thought about how much I would miss those nieces and nephews, or what it would be like to know that my kids won't smell wet earth beneath melting snow and think of home.  I guess everyone misses out on something.