At this point it will be difficult to explain why without going into great biographical detail, but I am leaving town tonight for the weekend. It will be a quick trip: I'l head out this evening and arrive back in town on Sunday evening. This is apparently pretty common, though it's somewhat unusual for me. A night away nearby? Sure. A long weekend away? Of course. But a short weeeknd away? I'd say that's insane. Do you have time to sleep? Eat? Relax? Remember where you are (much less appreciate it)?
It turns out that many people far smarter than I believe that traveling is inherently powerful. That it can heal. And this I have always believed, as this is how I was raised. We didn't always go far (in fact, due to the fact that we often didn't have two dimes to rub together, we rarely did), but we went. Anywhere we could go. It didn't really matter where we went, it only mattered that we did. For, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
And this is true: it's not that where you stay will be nicer than where you live (it rarely is, unless you stay at the Ritz) or that what you do will captivate you or rejunevate you during every moment. What is powerful -- indeed, what is healing -- is leaving the familiar behind. Expanding your horizons, if only for a moment. Viewing everyday problems and even life in a different way. Or, as Charles Horton Cooley said, "To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change." To come back physically exhausted but emotionally, mentally and spiritually revived. To come back with a different perspective. To return with a new sense of purpose.
This is the power of it.
It also gives you new, profound memories, good or bad. Some of the best memories I have involve traveling, but most of them are about experiences that brought out something in me other than my best.
And so today I leave both to visit family and to gain a different perspective. To feel a little wholer when I return than when I left. Or, as Caskie Stinnett said, "I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine."
See you when I get back. Feel free to leave comments in the interim.