• S. Yumi Yamamoto

Travel Days

I'm writing this after three days of driving, a week of packing, and about 48 hours before I take the longest series of flights I've ever taken to date. Obviously, I am exhausted. The complaining portion of this entry can be summed up with cramming in last-minute socializing with people, pack and repacking up to six times, freaking out over how much time I do/don't have to get where I need to go, not sleeping well, and driving myself about 1,400 miles.


The other part of this blog is a kind of lament. I actually love traveling, particularly road trips where I get to see parts of the country that are only ever seen at 80 mph. I love the natural spread of trees and foliage, disturbed only by cows and horses on farms defined more by the fences than the landscape. I love singing at the top of my lungs while driving fast on a road dotted by a few other impatient drivers, or steady trucks that have probably been on that same stretch of road a dozen times already. I love spending hours confined in a car, forcing me to slow down and disconnect from everyone who isn't in the car with me. I feel like I gave up the internet for the last few days even though I had access to everything as soon as I checked into a hotel. I love reading signs like "Best Jerky in the county. Exit 316 in 100 miles" because that's literally the only thing for the next hundred miles besides toilet stops. Life slows down. Time means little. I often wonder if this is what it felt like to live before technology sped up our expectations.


Moving to Zimbabwe is going to be time away from these kinds of things. My husband and I will be sharing a car, which is right-hand drive and on roads that may or may not have traffic lights. Road trips will be a thing I leave behind for the next couple of years. Even travelling will be restricted. Beyond the expense and the danger, it'll be difficult to schedule in trips around my husband's work schedule. Sure, I'll still be living in a country I never dreamed of visiting, but I'll mostly be confined to the house and city. And exploring? Well, I'm not thrilled to go out and about on my own.


This isn't a problem so much as it is a change. As I was sitting and waiting for my flights, I recounted how many planes I've taken in the past year. After landing in Zimbabwe, that number will be fifteen flights. I think that's more flights in the past year than in my entire lifetime before this point. I've gotten so used to living out of a suitcase that I've forgotten what it feels like to settle in, to make a place really feel like home. Ironically, that's kind of what my job will be once I land in Zim: I'll be a homemaker while I'm not writing. What does a homemaker even do? What does that job look like? Feel like? Somehow this seems like a 'grass is greener' sort of deal: I can't be happy being home, but I'm not happy constantly travelling either.


What I do know: I'm going to be so happy to see my husband again. I miss doing laundry with him, and cooking, and shopping for food, and snuggling on the couch, and watching stupid YouTube meme videos. I miss kissing him good night and waking up to his Zelda alarm clock, and sharing a bed, and figuring out how to manoeuvre around each other in the bathroom to get ready. I miss making him tea. I miss him making me laugh. Home isn't a place anymore; Home is a person. So whatever I endure, whatever changes need to be made or feelings I have about how my life is going to be in the future, it's worth it. I'm going home.

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