I'm a homebody. I'm a worldwideweb traveler, whose heart palpates at the challenge presented in renewing an expired passport … just not in a good way. I travel vicariously.
And it haunts me.
I've traveled out of the country a handful of times and only left North America once. For my honeymoon, where I met up with my mother-in-law, who traveled with us, showing us the sights.
Just let that sink in for a moment. My mother-in-law was the tour guide on our honeymoon trip. And the only key bit of information is there wouldn't have been a need for a passport without her. We wouldn't have gone anywhere.
Yes, I'm a homebody alright.
I guess I should just admit as much. Sink into the deep, soft cushions of my couch and put my feet up.
I've only ever traveled alone once. And since I was meeting someone at the destination, I'm not sure it counts.
And counting is what we all seem to do these days.
Which is exactly what I was doing one Sunday evening recently as I waited at a bus station in Albany to collect a friend visiting from Portugal: I was counting all the fears that lead me here. Literally.
My friend -- a world traveling, couch-surfing, ride-sharing, life-liver was arriving from New York for a brief visit -- had offered me a stop closer to my house.
And I said NO because I was unfamiliar with the area.
An area NEAR where I live.
She had come thousands of miles, crossed oceans, figured out transportation snags in I-don't-know-how-many cities and I couldn't meet her at a Park and Ride in Catskill because I was afraid I might get lost on the way.
So if you heard the infernal noise of a car horn's rhythmic blaring, it was likely just me beating my forehead against the steering column of my own inertia.
Of course, this is the part of the story, dear friends, where I tell you I am changing my ways*.
I am going places**.
I am changing the scenery. And not just in my mind***.
I am slitting the cellophane on this store-bought dinner and taking a risk****.
****Sorry, I have no idea what that means either.
But I do know that this year, around Thanksgiving, I will get on a bus headed in a southerly direction. At Christmastime, I will get on a plane headed northwest. And after the New Year, I will make plans to renew some passports and visit the country of my name's origin.
“It will happen this time,” I say over and over again.
Although, I am probably just weaving together all the fibers of my wishful thinking and coming up with the sweater vest of vacation options, I'm not sure it's entirely a fabrication. I won't likely get a dozen “Pinocchios” or a “Pants on Fire” designation from the fact checkers, even if none of these plans turn out to be a resounding “True” or even a lukewarm “It's Complicated.”
My mind is made up. Things are already in motion. Tickets purchased and calendar dates marked with indelible ink.
This time, it will happen.*****
***** Because my mother-in-law is making the arrangements.