Monday, July 11, 2011

What's the Opposite of Wanderlust?

Our family just got back from San Francisco.  It was perfect weather.  The completely different scenery and diverse population were fascinating.  Everyone got along almost all the time.  We had a great time -- success!

But even on the heels of this successful adventure I will readily admit I don't like to travel.  It's just not in my top ten list of things I like to do.  Probably not in my top one hundred.  And to some people that's a crime.  It's just not right to not like to travel.

About a year ago I was with a group of women, chatting.  One of them mentioned a trip she was planning and how excited she was.  The rest of the group got excited as well, talking about how much fun they were going to have.  I said I didn't like to travel (at an appropriate time, not just in the middle of everything).  The room went silent.

They stared at me like I had two heads.  How could anyone not like to travel?  How can you possibly not want to visit every corner of the earth?  (Especially the travel agent in the room.  You'd have thought I just said her kids were ugly by how offended she seemed.)

I like reading about, hearing about, or watching documentaries about other places.  Other people and lifestyles fascinate me.  But not enough to want to go there.  I just really like where I am.  There are enough incredible things to see within a two or three hour range of my house to keep me busy and satisfied for a lifetime.  Actually, there's enough in my own town to keep me happy for a lifetime.  I just honestly cannot think of another place in the world I'm dying to visit.  My life will be perfectly complete if I never leave my hometown again.

But what I found most interesting in this whole thing is how strongly it affected the other women in the room.  Why should they care if I don't like to travel?  Why would they spend the next fifteen minutes trying to convince me that if I were with the right person or "did it right" then I would love to travel?  Why isn't it okay for me to feel differently about something they love?

I bear no ill will toward those who like to travel.  In fact, I love hearing about their trips when they come back.  I love watching their faces light up as they describe each incredible thing they saw or did.

I love differences of opinion (as long as they are handled respectfully).  I think that's what makes our world function.  How would we survive if no one wanted to farm because everyone wanted to be an electrical enigineer?  What would happen if all little boys grew up to be firefighters and no one became a garbage man?  We need diversity.

So feel how you want to feel.  Celebrate what you want to celebrate.  Love what you want to love.  And please offer me the same freedoms.


Birdie said...

Well I am right in there with you sister! I don't like it either. I get overwhelmed when I am not close to home. I like my own bed. I don't like eating out for three meals a day. I have traveled within Canada with my fiance who knows when I am losing it and it has worked out OK but it is not on my top priorities.

From Tracie said...

When you are talking about something you love, it can be hard to remember that pressuring other people to love it just as much can make them very uncomfortable.

I do like to travel (sometimes, to the right places, with the right circumstances) but I can understand your point too. Actually, you show a lot of contentment being happy where you are....that is something that we could all use a little more of in our lives.

Day said...

I love travel because it seems to magically break up the sense of stagnation that accumulates between trips. It always changes the way I see the world, in a way that makes me happier and more mentally/emotionally flexible.

I think that discomfort with someone else not liking travel comes from two things. First, we're social creatures, and travel is a really resource intensive thing. Particularly in lean times like this, in a group of women, I can see why people would want their own desires to be validated by unanimity; after all, it's an extravagant thing to dream about. I think a lot of people, on hearing that it isn't a UNIVERSAL! desire, probably felt a little guilty for wanting it when there are a lot of other things their families need.

Second, I think some people equate travel with a willingness to be open to different kinds of people and different ways of seeing the world. If I thought you weren't willing to explore different points of view, it would make me uncomfortable too.

I'm sad that you can't have the same joy from travel that I do, but I do also love how much you are willing to stand up for who you are. I look at you as an example that way. The way travel-social-pressure works is really weird, and I could probably learn something from you about keeping fresh eyes that can appreciate all the great things close to home.

Linda said...

I hate traveling also. I get frustrated with hotels (even the nice ones), detest flying nowadays, and the sense of being disoriented. The same thing has happened to me with other people registering their shock when I said I didn't care to travel.

Besides, it costs a heck of a lot of money and even back when I had money and could afford it, I didn't like it. I do however like moving to new places and getting to know the culture from within.

I think people just don't want us to be different because somehow there is a kind of validation in liking the same things that your friends find important. I've been looking at this a lot lately and essentially many people want you to agree with what they find valuable as if to ensure it is valuable.

However, San Francisco is special this way. I think people do value differences and different ways of thinking but then they are accustomed to it. Yelp, I do miss SF very much.

I'm glad you guys had a good time!

Katy said...

One of the things I love best about you guys is that you are always HERE. What could be better than that?

Bonnie said...

I love to travel. I also love to hibernate in my house. I love to talk to people. I love to go whole days without seeing another soul. I love to water flowers. I love it when the freeze comes and I don't have to take care of anything.

At least you're of one opinion. I'm apparently married to my opposite, who lives in my skin. We don't fight much, though. There's always that.

Caren with a "C" said...

Good thoughts! You were in my neck of the woods! I like traveling with my husband, but not with the kids. I'm not on vacation if they are with me and I don't want to travel alone. I'm too scared that something will happen and I won't know what to do... like getting lost! I did travel once by myself before my mission and it was an awesome experience, so maybe I'm just too chicken? I do love hearing everyone's travel stories and seeing their pics.

Running Circles said...

Loved it! It reminds me of how I cannot understand how some people do not like cheese. I cannot comprehend this fact!

Anyways, glad to hear your family had a lovely trip. It's awesome that you can go against the grain, not just for the sake of doing so, but genuinely because you feel that way. It's not easy to stand up to group mentality.

Hopefully, you gave those women something to think about even if that was never your intention.

Blue Cotton Memory said...

I am a homey-girl, too! However, I will take a trip to the beach - and my husband did pry me out of the nest for a trip to Italy for our 25th anniversary. For me, it is a nesting thing - don't want to leave the nest unless all the chicks go too - and dont' want to leave them.

Now, if you were sitting at a table and said you didn't like cake or really eating - I really would have been dismayed! LOL

Thanks so much for your comment at SITS on my SITS Day! All those words of encouragement amazed me. SITS made a tiny-weeney mistake - my name is Maryleigh, not Melissa! Just thought I'd pass that along! Again, thanks for the sweet words - but you always say such nice things anyhow when you stop by:) I appreciate my friends who celebrated with me!

Saretta said...

I'm not much of a traveler either. It's always upcomfortable. I like my bed and my pillow and my kitchen, ya know? And yet, I up and moved to Italy and have also worked in Mexico and Japan. But I lived in each of those places with my own house, my own bed, my own pillow...

Rob-bear said...

I used to travel quite a bit, for work and for family. The older I get, the less I like travelling. It really wears me out very quickly.
But there are some people, people have lots of money, who think nothing of heading off to here or there. And I think that those of us who do not travel challenge their assumptions about the "naturalness" of travelling, particularly in retirement. Which makes people uneasy, perhaps. Which is what you may have encountered, Robin.

Michelle said...

I will admit upfront, I can't stand staying at home. But I completely agree with you that traveling is not for everybody and indeed someone needs to stay home. It's a great quality to be content where you are and to appreciate it and to really get out "live" where you are.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!