A Year in the NOT-World

“No,” I said, smacking the book shut.  ”No.  No.  No.  NO!”

I thought she had done it; I thought she had circumvented the globe and explored the intoxicatingly complex world I am aching to explore.

But she hadn’t.

In the preface for A Year in the World, Frances Mayes sucked me in with eloquent explanations about the experience of preparing for extended travel:

  • “You are released also because you are insignificant to the life of the new place.  When you travel, you become invisible, if you want.”
  • “Everything I pick up seems to lure me away.  Everything I do in my daily life begins to feel like striking wet matches.”
  • “The need to travel is a mysterious force.  A desire to go runs through me equally with an intense desire to stay at home.  An equal and opposite thermodynamic principle.”

“Yes!” I thought to myself.  ”Here is someone who can empathize with the eye-twitching desire to nest-and-travel-all-at-the-same-time-and-am-I-going-crazy!”

But then I actually looked at the map glued to the inside of the book’s cover.  The excitement dribbled out of my ears.  This book isn’t about “the World”.  She goes to France, Portugal, Spain, the British Isles, Greece, Turkey, Morocco…  THAT ISN’T THE WORLD!  THAT IS ONE TINY REGION THAT REVOLVES AROUND THE TOURISM INDUSTRY!

Here, this might illustrate my point a little more clearly.

WORLD

REGION – Not “World”

Okay granted, hers isn’t entirely a trip of privileged first world countries.  But it’s darn close.  What about the beautiful cultural complexity in countries not ringing the, um, over-popularized, idealized cultures and landscapes of the Mediterranean?

Yes, I realize I am taking this personally on an unnecessary level.   And yes, this says much more about me and my insecurities about the 13/13/13 trip than anything else.  I have been craving “tangible” (? is that even possible?) proof that someone else has travelled the world and created a cohesive body of work with substantive value.  Because I am terrified that the obstacles I am facing are insurmountable.  I’m terrified that even if I do go on this trip next year that I won’t have anything of value to relay to you.

And that’s why rather than get all teary again about a future I can’t foresee or control, I am going to just throw this book across the yard and storm inside, fuming and muttering to myself about how Frances Mayes is a pretentious, privileged jerk who is too stupid to know how to title things correctly.

Because that is obviously the rational choice right now.

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