The Particular Difficulty of Writing about Travels


In Pennsylvania, an original colony, I was born. From there, everything until


I have reached the point where, as a writer, I have become overwhelmed by the distances I’ve travelled. Along the way I carried a journal, (however) staunchly refusing to put a pen to its pages. Pausing seemed like a sin, a disservice to the discomfort and thrill of the movement itself. Knuckles, guiding the wheel of a car, gripping the armrest of an airplane, or flying free over the bow of a ship, cannot concern themselves with constructing words and sentences to mirror the moment. Besides, it seemed too fleeting a thing to try to capture.

Ultimately, writing about travels became little more than a date and a dash, followed by a stunted list of words that seemed to indicate my days’ activities. March 3 – climbed mountain, reached top, beautiful view. The blank spaces between entries (even words) are where the real action exists. Those blank spaces are everything.

Now, hundreds of thousands of miles later I am burdened by what I haven’t written. I sold a bible to fund my trip from one side of the state of Pennsylvania to the other. I trekked to California by steaming east. I stood on hallowed grounds at Hiroshima and then Pearl Harbor. I salsa-danced in Puerto Rico and hiked muddy jungle trails in the Amazon. Bikini-clad women proudly flaunting their plus-size figures on a Brazilian beach helped me accept my own body’s imperfections; bearing witness to the Taj Mahal in India made me feel awed and insignificant. I nearly died trying to drive out of a traffic circle in North Jersey. (Side note: I actually almost die every time I encounter a New Jersey driver.) I tracked lions in Africa and was mauled by Pittsburgh Steelers fans during a Super Bowl riot. I almost made it to Oz. I have done all these things and now my head is full of stories, waiting patiently to burst free. But how? How can I do justice to my experiences, now?

Onward. (There is no end).

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