I Hate: Travel

July 24, 2014

I don’t travel well. Anyone can attest to it (especially my former Portland teammates).

My issues with travel are thus:

You have to wake up early. I’m not sure why this a rule, but it seems that “hitting the road early,” or taking the first flight out, is a big deal to people. I like to sleep. Anything before 6am, I consider to be an ungodly hour.  Which is why I always carry a full sized pillow and have developed a special kind of travel narcolepsy that allows me to sleep anywhere at anytime.

Hotels are ok (I really enjoy that I can turn the AC down all the way and basically freeze myself), but I miss my Tempur-Pedic mattress and my satin model sheets (which rank right up there with Cherry Craisins and cloth hair ties in the category of things that have changed my life).

Car trips make me stiff. Planes make me bloat. My stomach almost always hurts. You have to hydrate, but after the third time you’ve asked the person next to you to let you out to use the bathroom, you think, I’ll just hold it – which works alright until at the exact moment you think you can’t possibly hold it any longer you hear the fasten seatbelt sign chime on.

I, also, really dislike being touched by other humans (specifically the random kind), which seems to happen a lot no matter how or when you travel.

Still…I don’t mind all of it too much, so long as it has a purpose.

I am not a tourist.

Here’s why.

When I was at Yale, almost every time I left my dorm room there was somebody standing in front of my building throwing up the peace sign and having their picture taken. I don’t care what happened in my dorm a hundred years ago – the building now houses nothing more than a ton of freshman whose greatest accomplishment is making it to their 8am class.

In addition, there is a statue in the middle of the courtyard that is supposed to bring you good luck if you rub the boot. Well guess what, the frats have all their pledges pee on it, so woohoo you touched the boot (we can never be friends).

That’s tourism.

I’ll accept that there are responsible forms of tourism – like when you learn a lot on a specific historical event and you want to see where it happened. That seems to me to have a purpose. For example, my dad knows everything about the Civil War and he showed me around Gettysburg. I’m not going to say that I found it all that life changing (except getting to spend time with the coolest guy ever!), but it was fun for my dad to get to put all that reading into context.

Back to my point. I may not have myself all figured out yet, but the one thing I know unequivocally is that I do not enjoy traveling for the sake of travelling.

I was interviewed the other day and one question (and by that I mean my answer to one question) stuck with me for a while afterwards.

What team would I play for if I could pick one team in any city in the world, and why?

My answer (the Washington Spirit) felt pretty lame at first – but totally like me. If I wanted to be somewhere else, why would I be here?

Still, I wracked my brain for a better (cooler) answer. But somehow the reasoning behind any other place I could find seemed shallow when compared to all the things that truly matter to me.

Listen, I’ll go wherever I need to go to get what I want – whether that be 3,000 miles away, or down the street. But I don’t see any reason to pick up and go somewhere new just create some motion so I can feel like I’m doing something.

I've never put much stock in the idea that you need to go super far away in order to find yourself (you will be wherever you are, right?)

I have lived in 6 states in my 24 years of life, all different locations and vibes. I haven’t lived at home since high school. And I have to say that the experiences that changed me the most had nothing to do with leaving, and everything to do with sticking around and finishing what I started

New places are cool and exciting and different, and no matter what you left behind, they almost always seem better at first. You think, wow all those problems I used to have, they weren’t me, they were all the people around me! How awesome!

But inevitably things get difficult again and you think, “I want to go home. I miss my parents and my friends and my cat, and the water here is wreaking havoc on my skin” (or something more serious like “no one understands me here”).

It’s easy to “run” – and start the process over again.

It’s a little harder to stick it out (the upside being that if you stay long enough you may actually achieve what you set out to do).

I’ve done both in my life.

Neither is “correct.”

As Thoreau said when he left Walden “I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.” (aka if you are here, you can’t be there, and vice versa)

What’s hiding in the mountains of Luxembourg may in fact be better than what is down the street. But then again, it may not.

I say it all depends on what your purpose is.

I love the Washington Spirit.

I’ve gotten to train with some of the hardest working, most selfless people this summer. I’ve had coaches invest and believe in me. I feel like I've made a difference. And I have the opportunity tomorrow to do what I love most (and if I’m lucky earn a chance at another National Championship).

I can’t wait to step on that field with the extraordinary players and people on my team.

It won’t matter that we’re playing in Florida, and not on the side of a glacier somewhere. Just like it won’t matter whether there are 1,000 people in the stands or just 1 (well there will be at least two - my personal fan club!).

I will have everything I want.

I guess what I’m really saying is that there’s a difference between motion and action, between working out and training, between being on a journey and being on a mission.

I just hope I can recognize the difference when I see it. Because what I have now is pretty great. But this fall I will need to find the next step – the next thing that is going to make me a better goalkeeper.

Here, there, I don’t care. The travel really isn't so bad, so long as I’m headed somewhere.

-A

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(a picture one of my teammates took towards the end of our trip today)