Travel Addiction

No One Ever Died of Boredom…Right?

I’ll be flying back to the US in four days.  And I’m afraid.  But not for the reasons you’d think.  I’m not particularly worried about finding a job or making new friends (I’ve got a lot of experience at doing both) and even though I’m not ecstatic about moving in with the ‘rents again, I know it’ll only be temporary.  I’ll survive.

No, what I’m really afraid of is boredom.  I know.  I haven’t gotten over that one yet.  Remember when I was terrified of leaving Tokyo because it would mean going back to the land of strip malls and parking lots? Well, it may be a different year and a different country that I’m leaving, but it’s still the same phobia.

Does anyone else look at these photos and want to immediately and permanently retire to a an iceberg in Antarctica?  No?  Just me?  Well then…

Strip Mall by Ecksemmess
Los Angeles Freeway

One of the my favorite things about Central America is the random, wild unpredictability of it.  I love, for example, that right now there’s a rooster tied to a telephone pole across the street from my hostel.  I also love that no one seems to care or even notice that there’s a rooster tied to a telephone poll across the street from my hostel, perhaps most notably the rooster himself.

I love that the buses here are all painted pink, red or green and that the walls inside are decorated with Looney Toon stickers and paintings of Jesus.  I love that they blast music at ear-splitting levels and that you never have to worry about going on a long journey without drinks or snacks because every few minutes a vendor will hop on board selling hot cocoa in a plastic bag or boiled cow udder wrapped in banana leafs.  You can literally buy anything on a bus.  Need a new TV remote control?  Or a lime green pen in the shape of a parrot with a whistle on the end of it?  How about a pirated High School Musical dvd or an eraser?  Hungry for an uncooked potato or cold Chinese noodles in a ziplock baggie?  No problema.  The bus vendors have it all.  Live in Central America and you’ll never need to go shopping for anything ever again.

I also love the element of danger.  I’ve been robbed and pick-pocketed, had run-ins with flashers and crazed street dogs…It’s been terrifying but in a way, weirdly awesome too.  At a horse festival last weekend, (whereby the entire festival seemed to revolve around drunk men riding horses through the street while drinking whisky and flicking cigarette ash on everyone unlucky enough to be standing nearby) an intoxicated man punched me in the arm with a beer can.  The punch wasn’t hard and the beer can had been empty so it didn’t hurt.  But it took me by surprise and I reacted by smashing my water bottle into his neck.  He fell into a soda cart and the men around me cheered.

I went back to my hostel thinking that well, at least life in Central America wasn’t boring.

Which I worry won’t be the case when I return home.  My mom says that I just need to find a substitute hobby.  Something challenging and stimulating that will make up for the fact that I’ll soon be (permanently?) among people who’s idea of a interesting time involves a House marathon and a 30 percent off sale at The Body Shop.

“Study a new language,” she suggested.  “Take a yoga class.”  But what my mom fails to understand is that there’s no substitute for travel.  I can study aerospace engineering if I wanted but nothing will ever be as intellectually and emotionally stimulating as full submersion into a foreign culture.  Nothing.

And expecting me to be content with trading in the Great Wall of China for the Mandarin classes at the Y is like expecting Christopher Columbus to be happy with trading in his sail boat and the seven seas for a raft and a lap pool.  It’s impossible.

Which means that I will bored in the US.  Clawing the walls, stir-crazy, prison cell bored.  “It’s gonna suck,” goes my daily pep talk to myself.  “And you’re gonna hate it.  It’s gonna be painful and you are going to be. So. Bored.”

“But,” and here comes the part that I pray is true, “You will get over it.  You’ll learn how to be bored.  It’ll be a good experience for you.”

Because no one ever died of boredom…right?

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10 thoughts on “No One Ever Died of Boredom…Right?

  1. You really love the high of the unknown, don’t you? Which is perfectly fine, by the way, but…it’s just not how the majority of the world is permitted to function. I suppose you could become an extreme sports enthusiast, or something, right? Ah…well, if you aren’t having adventures, then I’m not living vicariously through you, so perhaps your boredom and wanderlust is all for the best.

    Have a safe flight!

  2. Ha. The high of the unknown…yeah, well put. I guess so. My brothers and dad are the ones who are more into the extreme sports side of things. They race motorcycles and sky dive, etc. But maybe I should try to follow in their footsteps more? Buy myself a motorcycle?

    Hmm…the one and only time I tried to ride a motorcycle by myself, I was nine and borrowed my little brother’s. I lasted all of 20 seconds before wiping out pretty bad and have never done it since.

  3. Don’t do it, Reannon… boredom is not a good thing to get used to. If you have the opportunity to travel, I say go for it! It may be going against what you want to hear right now, but believe me, if you never got used to your US lifestyle before it’s unlikely you’ll develop a sudden fondness for it now.
    Good luck whatever you do =)

  4. Hi Epiphanie – Really? Maybe I never liked the US because I didn’t give it enough of a chance. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

    Siiigh. Dude, you guys shouldn’t be encouraging me to travel. You’re bad influences! : )

  5. Oh at first it won’t be bad… it will be change. It might suck sometimes but oh you can look at your hometown in the eyes of a traveler, really. There are so many hidden gems all over the world, and you are the local now, go ask your parents and the older generation where they used to party in the 60’s. I’m sure there is a cool gravel pit or something, and oh yeah, find others like you… and make a community =) Open mic nights always make me smile. That’s all I’ve got…. oh and I would love to get traveling advice from you… really really… your so cool!!

  6. Isn’t your point that US cities suck rather than that you need to travel constantly? Why not just move some place interesting, either in the US or as an expat, and settle down there to work, study or do something else productive?

  7. Travel provides a high that nothing else can. I wonder how much I would love a place if I had to actually *live* there… Would you be able to appreciate the eccentricities of Costa Rica if you knew that was ‘home’?
    I live in India and millions of tourists flock to my country everyday to see the colours, the vivaciousness and the exotic places here. But most Indians wouldn’t be appreciating what we have. I know I go for long stretches without appreciating it either. That could be because I live in a city, which is so globalized I could be anywhere in the world.
    But then I take a drive into the countryside or it rains and the city goes crazy and I realise how ‘contained’ we are in the city… I guess that’s what the thrill is about… coming out of the shell.
    Home is always safe. Which is why it is also boring.
    I hope you get to travel more after a short break.
    Here’s to more travel stories.

  8. Yeah, I think that the fact that I’m bored by the US probably has nothing to do with any fault of America and more to do with the fact that it’s ‘home’, as you say, which is just too familiar to be interesting.

    I’m sure I’d feel the same if I lived in Paris or Peru or even a colony on the moon. Good point, guys.

    I still don’t know what to do! Ugh.

  9. In five years, Los Angeles will be exactly like you’re describing in your post. Why not move there and get the same experience? 🙂

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