soul food friday ~ travel and your inner kid

on Thursday, April 14, 2011

You know by now, most of you, that I'm on the wrong side of 50...a little more than just and not enough for a lot. It's not so bad. Mostly. After all, I do have two quite nice twenty something offspring to show for it!
So I like to think that I'm at least marginally grown up and possibly a tiny bit sophisticated, based solely on the amount of time I've been on the choking on your toast from those who know me, ok...
I've been to lots of places...after last month I can now put a tick against all of these, but there have been quite a few others :)
...but you know something...when I travel, I feel like a little kid. In a good way.  Not in an "oh hell, I don't know what I'm doing or where am I going, or why did you bring me here, or are we there yet kind of way..."
No. It's in an "oh crumbs, just get a load of that, can you believe it, isn't that amazing, why didn't I know it would be this good" kind of way...
People talk about seeing things through the eyes of a child. Mostly they mean through the eyes of the child they're with.
Not kids are too old for a start (although I'm sure they're as likely as anyone to slip back into childlike delight)...but when I travel I feel as if I'm much more capable of playfulness...of being awestruck...of finding wonder in everything around me. 
Even if it is wondering why the nice people from homeland security insisted on unpacking and unwrapping every single item in my carefully packed and oh so finely crammed carry on luggage when I left JFK last month! 
Those beautifully beribboned Tiffany boxes...they just weren't the same after that little exercise!
I'm also more inclined to make allowances and be more tolerant, but perhaps that's just the grown up, wiser part of me.
There's a Diane Arbus quote: "my favourite thing is to go where I've never been". I like that, and it doesn't only apply to travel of course.
But what is it about going somewhere new that brings out the inner child...that makes you look and linger with delight at the simplest of a squirrel in Central Park...or spotting one while you're in the bus that's picking up people on the way to the airport...(yes Mary, I took more squirrel photos...nuts, I know)
or a kid kicking a ball...
or steam coming from a subway vent...just in case you missed it the first time...
or a musical that really shouldn't be a surprise to you, but somehow is. But perhaps that was the absolute pleasure that the Italian tourist sitting next to me was was completely infectious.
Or just loving the dingy tiles in the subway...I'm sure my mother wouldn't get why I took this photo! You do though, don't you.
It's a great gift travel, isn't it? In all sorts of ways. And a very special privilege. I never lose sight of that.
Are you like me? Do you unleash the inner kid when you get on your bike and head off into the unknown?
images: first two from we heart it, tiffany box from google, all others by me