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Travel Nostalgia

For me one of the hardest things about being a travel aficionado is that it brings on “pangs” of nostalgia even though in the 2011 Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris nostalgia is described as being “denial-denial of the painful present.” I recently marked a year that I went to Hawaii, which to this date is still one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. So each day here in Pittsburgh that I either went to work, cleaned, made dinner, all of the mundane and un-charming facets of everyday living, I remembered fondly what I was doing on the same day a year ago-sampling tropically brewed Hawaiian beer at the Maui Brewing Company, driving up a volcano, and snorkeling deep in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.

I’m hardly “old” but I feel that way when I think that I studied in Spain over six years ago. In some ways it seems like a lifetime in the past and yet in other ways, my time spent there still seems so mentally fresh-the cutting words of my Sevillanas dance professor when she was reprimanding me for messing up a step, the beauty of the orange trees when in bloom (and alternatively the foul odor they omitted when cars drove over them), sitting on Calle Betis, simply watching the world pass by along the Rio Guadalquivir. I’m nostalgic for Spain, a place like nowhere else although my recent trip to Portugal certainly came close.

Likewise I get nostalgic for the destinations that I know I won’t necessarily be seeing again anytime soon. Some are due to distance and cost (South Korea), others (Costa Rica) are best described with the French saying je ne sais quoi (I don’t know what). However,  Mexico remains one of my favorite destinations ever since I first visited in 2001 and I have been back three other times and am even considering returning there for a mini vacation next year.

While I do look upon each new country or place visited as a feat, the mental equivalent of climbing a mountain, another part of me looks upon each new country or place visited with some sadness as well, for I know that there is only so much time and money in the world and that there are probably some destinations I won’t be able to return to. Nostalgia can be difficult, especially if you have no trips planned on the immediate horizon and yet it can be a good thing in the sense that it can offer you a mental outlet when you relive a trip’s events, or bring a smile to your face when you remember the first time your eyes laid sight on such a beautiful place.

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