Every ninety days in Thailand, I crossed a border. Even when my visa didn't demand it, I went to another country after three months in Bangkok. Sometimes I was gone only for a couple of days, sometimes several months, but always I loved my time away from Bangkok, as well as returning to it. And during the three years that I lived that way, I became addicted to tickets.
Bus tickets, train tickets, air tickets--I love them all, those slips of paper that hold possibilities. Purchasing them became part of my internal clock; sitting in a conveyance that would take me somewhere I had never been before was like nourishment. I needed it, yearned for it, was sustained by it. It didn't have to be comfortable travel; it just had to take me away, give me a new perspective, bring me back with a few good stories, make me realize that I liked where I lived.
By now, were I still in Bangkok, I would have made a trip in October, another in January, and would be preparing for yet one more in the coming month. In Seattle, I've explored different neighborhoods. It's not quite the same.
My plan had been to return to Bangkok at least once a year, and then travel on from there for as long as I could. I still long to do that. But an invitation from a friend has opened a new gateway for me, enlarging my tunnel vision that only saw Asia; Europe awaits. And as I think about a stay in Italy, the world unfolds for me in a way that I'd forgotten I hungered for.
I'm in my early 60s; with luck I might have another fifteen years of good travel time--and there is so much I want to see. Morocco, Istanbul, Uganda, Argentina, Serbia, Mexico City. How much can I gulp down while still being in these places as I want to be, for weeks or months, not days?
Once a year, twice a year, instead of four times a year--the tickets still are waiting with their promises of new worlds, for as long as I can keep on going. Revisiting the familiar while exploring undiscovered spots--not a bad goal for a motion junkie, for as long as I can, as far as I can.