TRAVEL JOURNAL: Oman Trip 26 Nov 2011 Riyad, Saudia Arabia; 1 Dec 2011 Muscat, Oman
There are those moments of tension and anxiety that arise even when one has a love affair with travel. It often happens while packing, one of my least favorite things to do. Sometimes it happens the night before when I realize I cannot sleep in on a day that everyone else is off and moving without purpose or it may feel a bit uphill when I am doing laundry because I absolutely have to before I can finish packing. I have a moment of resentment and then I question myself. However, each time I think that there is no thrill left in this for me, each time I tell myself I want to just stay home, I later find myself having that up-in-the-air moment. It’s my mountaintop moment. You know, the place in the movies where people go to clear their heads? Some people have a hilltop, a rooftop or a picturesque spot near a lake, but mine is in the sky, above the clouds. Maybe it’s the altitude or the symbolism of an airplane with wings literally flying into the air, but it provides me with a grounded-ness that has no logic because my feet couldn’t be further from the ground.
Sometimes I wonder why this has been such a huge part of my life—traveling. I wonder if there was a moment in my childhood where Little Toni claimed that traveling around the world was one of her dreams. I can only remember a few locations I dreampt of as a young child. Maybe because this was all I knew, but I wanted to live in New York and London, and I wanted to go to Paris and Africa. This was shortly before I learned AfricaIsNotACountry.com. I started visualizing my Africa destinations in high school. Funny enough, I’ve been to several countries on the continent, but have yet to go to the places I dreampt about as a teen, except for Ghana. I saw myself in Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Madagascar. Mali has also been calling my name for years, but haven’t visited there yet either. My next face-to-face conversation with Mother Africa will be with Kenya.
There was an opportunity to travel to the mountains today, but I chose to sleep in and wake up to the sound of the ocean. I had a late lunch and a long walk on the beach. I watched an episode of Law & Order (yes, Law & Order) and then took a nap. I’m now at my computer—tweeting, Facebooking, chatting on gmail with a friend who is in Haiti right now. I’m looking forward to going home because there is no place like home. I no longer accept every invite that comes or take every trip that is presented. I’ve been there, done that, but when it’s a meaningful opportunity that may create a new possibility—-um, I am likely to take advantage of it. Life is good. I passed on a number of jobs over the past two years because I don’t like feeling like a nomad. I needed to ground myself and get centered. I also needed to make sure that I was fulfilling my own purpose and not serving someone else’s agenda. It’s a powerful space to occupy. This trip to Oman will be a catalyst for many things in 2012. The long flight was totally worth it. As I head to the airport tonight I’ll be planning my daydreams and the poems I’ve yet to write. This moment I’ll savor once we are in the air. When I was young I always knew I would take flight, but now I feel like I am ready to fly.