The International Writers Magazine: TRAVEL
Defense of Wandering: A Travelers Hissy Fit
Im constantly chasing the dragon.
This isnt wanderlust- its wanderlove. The things Ive
spied in every far corner of the earth have spoiled me, and being
home - being still - feels unhealthy. Yet "Spoiled"
seems like the wrong word for it; Ive been enlightened by
travel, but then again maybe thats glorifying it.
The greatest adversary
to the cause is my father; many a late night talks ended in a scene
out of a Cindy Lauper video: "Oh Daddy dear you know youre
still number one, but girls just wanna fun, oh girls just wanna have
Maybe I am some skewed sybarite; nipping at Pleasures heels in
some third-world country, but it sounds so offensive- too Bacchanalian.
Yet if I say that I travel just to better myself or to better the world,
that also shimmers falsely; I doubt Id pursue traveling with the
same vigor if I didnt derive the same pleasure from it.
I suppose the reason I cannot explain my preternatural inclination to
roam is because I chase a dragon with no name: I dont know what
Im seeking. How do you explain instinct to an agoraphobic father--
past life as a nomad, perhaps?
His fear for me chasing the dragon lies in the definition of that term
itself. In street slang its said in reference to the specific
manner of inhaling crack or heroin over tin foil and a flame. The smoke,
thick and slow moving, dances like a Chinese dragon into the pipe. The
"dragon" is also that elusive high that the junkie, or any
addict for that matter, is always trying to top. The hunt is constant
and obsessive; its deadly in the depth and dedication thats
required to endure the pursuit. The infatuation is nearly maddening,
like Heracles on the heels of the stag with the golden horns; its
a trial of endurance rather than brawn.
The real harm though, resides in nature of the beast- for the dragon
(unlike the stag) can never be caught. Therein lies the elemental flaw.
If it was something tangible and socially acceptable youre tracking,
youd be commended- your next promotion, the perfect house, and
the designer sunglasses are all reasonable to strive towards. Yet when
its elusive and indefinable, and for all intents and purposes,
non-existent, youre just another junkie looking to top your last
high-- so much for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Well I couldnt care less. Call me self-indulgent, immature and
irrational. Wendy sweetheart, you had it right when you ran away to
whimsical, exotic Neverland after your father demanded that you put
aside your childish fancies and grow up. Just because I live in the
real world doesnt mean I have to be a realist. Just because the
dragon is without a name doesnt mean I cant chase it.
I realize this is the literally equivalent to wiggling my fingers on
each side of my head and saying "nanny nanny poo poo" to my
Dad, to every person who rolled their eyes at me when they heard I was
leaving again, to everyone that curtly said they wish they too could
just forgo their responsibilities and leave, and to everyone that has
told any child to just grow up. Well guess what? This life takes guts.
Im scared to death half the time, but the other half Im
elated. I may never catch the dragon, but for now Im thrilled
with just the chase. And guess what? Sometimes its as simple as
that. Sometimes its as glorious as that.
© Nicole Trilivas September 2005
Journeys in Hacktreks
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