I have serious vacation lust right now and serious indecisiveness about what to do with myself.
The lust comes partly from the February doldrums, partly from the long stretch between New Year’s Day and Good Friday in BC’s stat holiday calendar (one reason to miss Alberta: Family Day in February), partly from the fact that my boss has told me I have two vacation days I need to use by March 31, partly from the reminder on my paystub of my new vacation allotment for the year, partly from the fact that I just reluctantly said no to an all-inclusive Dominican Republic vacation with a friend because the timing was off, the price was off, and it wasn’t quite what I was craving.
But the lust comes mostly from the book I’ve been slowly reading while also devouring novels like Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (didn’t love it) and Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal: What Was She Thinking (loved it). I’ve mentioned it before, in the Bolivian prison tour posts – Pico Iyer’s Sun After Dark: Flights into the Foreign. It’s a book of essays on his trips to some of the poorest places in the world, where he sees the light and the dark coexisting:
The physical aspect of travel is, for me, the least interesting; what really draws me is the prospect of stepping out of the daylight of everything I know, into the shadows of what I don’t know, and may never know. Confronted by the foreign, we grow newly attentive to the details of the world, even as we make out, sometimes, the larger outline that lies behind them.
He visits Leonard Cohen in a Zen monastery, the Dalai Lama in India, sees a Cambodia recovering from the scars of the Khmer Rouge, talks politics in Ethiopia, all the while examining “what was central, what the margins, and how “the two circle around one another like fascinated strangers, each haunted by The Other.”
He hits on one of my favourite reason to travel:
We travel, some of us, to slip through the curtain of the ordinary, and into the presence of whatever lies just outside our apprehension. … The beauty of any flight, after all, is that, as soon as we leave the ground, we leave a sense of who we are behind.
The exotic vacation I’d been dreaming about since getting back from Peru and Bolivia years ago was to Egypt, but that was put on hold when I decided to move to Mexico instead. And it will have to wait a little longer, but there are many other options closer to home.
Now if only I could decide on one of them.