What was your dream destination in 2012 and why?
I began the year dreaming of Spain. J. and I had planned to honeymoon there and then we decided to put the honeymoon off for a year because the baby was too young, and then I started questioning whether I really wanted to travel to Spain with a toddler the following summer, and then it stopped being a dream at all when we canceled our wedding in August. But my travel dreams have shifted as I've ceased believing that I will certainly be traveling with this other person and, thus, must find mutually agreeable travel destinations. I think J. and I have tended to fantasize about travel to European cities and I find myself starting to be honest with myself and admit that's not really my thing. The trouble with traveling to cities, for me, is that it hits all of my anxiety points -- all of that negotiating new public transit systems, and figuring out how to order food, and all of that choosing between so many options, while people around you are so busy and hectic, it just makes me feel so tired. Plus cities drain me anyway. I'm so open and the boundaries between my heart and other people so porous that I feel both spent and wired at the end of the day in a city. My brain reeling as it tries to process the backlog of information it took in during the day; my heart aching as it tries to deal with having fallen in love with everyone it saw. I don't dislike traveling to cities; I really do like it. And some of my favorite travel memories have been in European cities (Paris with Jason and Derek, Prague with Sylvia and Sylvan, Barcelona and Dublin and Copenhagen and London with the O'Connells, the sweet 12 hour layover I spent wandering solo in Brussels). But, now, as I listen to these new quiet whispers, I remember that I am drawn more to the rural, to nature, to the remote. That when I dream of vacation I dream of having less choice, not more.
I want to satisfy my girlhood dream of walking in Anne's fictional footsteps on Prince Edward Island. I want to take that national park road trip that Sylvia and I dreamed of but never did. I want to go kayaking up in the San Juans and see sea otters right next to me. I want to listen to the loons on a lake in Maine. I want that stillness, that wet smell of the earth, the dizzying rush of the stars. I don't know precisely why, and I think the answer is actually fantastically complex, but I've allowed myself to shut away that need I have for nature. I've allowed myself to silence the voice that dislikes the experience of being in the city -- even the small, easy city I live in is too much city for me sometimes. I actually have some insights, as I write this, but it feels too new and too raw to write about at the moment. I guess I will say that one component is, I am willing to admit, that I've (to my detriment) been driving intensity out of my life for years. I am not...skilled...at feeling strong emotions and have been absolutely haunted in my life by the feeling of simply being too small a vessel for certain feelings. Natural beauty is something more-or-less guaranteed to produce that feeling in me of too-smallness. Perhaps in a more organized, less Vicodin'ed mood I'll find a way to explain this more fully. It's something I'd dearly like to reckon with. I forgive myself this systematic de-intensifying of my life but I'm glancing at what I've shut off in myself in the process and I can't say I love the results.