For the first time, I feel traveled-out. Too much movement. While on the plane this time around, I was thinking about how ten years ago I would get a rush from seeing new places, I would feel awed and grateful just to be standing in country X. I don’t think I’ve felt that in a long time, in at least two years, and my two-years-ago awe was the result of seeing a particular place that had been on my list since I was a little kid. A place where I now take students every year; a place where I’m no longer excited to go and which is starting to seem like a chore instead of an opportunity. How sad that having the chance to see something amazing every year is now just a thing on my list, like attending a faculty meeting.
This year in the field I was forced to clean out my GPS unit, which is completely full. This was my first field unit, the one I used throughout my dissertation, and since I’m currently working in my dissertation area I’d like to keep those points available. I was therefore dumping things from other projects, like my summer field work, which will be getting its own dedicated GPS unit. However, a few of my points are from places I went as an undergrad, or as a grad student, and I took the points just to be able to say “I was here!” A lot of these places were my first “I can’t believe I’m standing here” moments, and I may not visit many of them again. I will probably be keeping them in my GPS unit, for now, at least. I have to wonder when I’ll be so jaded that I erase them in order to record one more piece of research-related data.
This process of GPS cleaning just made it more obvious that I’ve traveled too much. Free trip somewhere? I have to check my schedule. I may say no, just because I’m feeling overstretched. And I’m a bit tired of monthly jet-lag. Everywhere new just seems like a variation on places I’ve been before, or it’s a belt-notch. If you count the last eight months, for example, I’ve been on four continents. I think I finally understand the frequent flier mile-junkies; after too many miles, you have to find SOMETHING to keep you interested.
Realizing all this had made me really sad. How do I get back that love of place, of standing on dirt I’ve never been connected to before? My current trip home has not helped, since the process of getting out of the field and getting home has not been easy. I'm not all that excited about my next scheduled plane ride.
Perhaps most importantly, can I use all this ennui to justify a cruise to Antarctica? There’s a place that has always been on my list, and which I suspect would at least temporarily topple my bad attitude.
8 hours ago