It's funny, in the first few years we lived in Germany, we traveled like crazy. Living in such a central location in Europe meant we could hop in the car and be in any number of different countries in a matter of hours. When we made the decision to move to Berlin, we knew ease of travel would be one of the compromises, no longer being so well located nor next to the largest, most-traveled airport in the EU - not to mention all the funds that moving would require. And with all Berlin has to offer, it's not as if I can complain for lack of new experiences.
Looking at all the amazing places I have been already - NYC, Barcelona, Mallorca, Cinque Terre, Florence, Innsbruck, Amsterdam, Spetses and Rome, just to name a few from above - I feel guilty for being so greedy with my wanderlust. There are people who will never add half these destinations to their passports. And for that, I know I am extremely lucky. But for me, that deep-seated restlessness, that internal flame that burns and yearns for a change of scenery, isn't satiated only by where I've been, but more by where I'm headed next. There are just so many amazing things to see in the world and only one life in which to experience them. I'm positively aching to get back to some of my favorite spots in Paris, to finally check seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland off my bucket list and make a plan to get to more far-off, exotic locales like South Africa and Southeast Asia. The other day, I was even hit with a most surprising feeling of nostalgia when I realized looking around San Francisco-inspired eatery Dolores at the maps and old photographs while I waited to order, I actually had a lump in my throat in thinking about how many years it has been since I'd been back to California.
But still... We have chosen to stay in Europe for the lifestyle it provides, namely the generous time off and access to European travel. Whenever we have encountered visiting Americans, often here on their One Big European Trip for barely a week before they head back to settle into a mortgage and having children, never to return, we exchange knowing glances that our aspirations for our lives could not be more different. I don't want to just dream about travel, I want to be able to pick up and go. I don't want to think back to that one time I went to Paris, I want to go once a year. Sure, I want a comfortable, settled home life as well, but I never want to start pouring over my travel photos from years and years (and years...) ago, lamenting over when I will finally get my toes back in the sand, get lost in a sea of a new language or experience a piece of world-renowned art or architecture that elicits a profound emotional response.
So with that, my husband is on forced vacation this week, as he has accrued so much due to our home-bound state and we are going to do something, go somewhere. It won't be extravagant and it won't be far, but we plan to spend some time exploring our new city and perhaps taking a few day trips, just taking a much-needed breather from the day-to-day and persistent moving stresses. But in the back of our minds, we will still be thinking, plotting, planning: "what's next...?"