I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I am travel fatigued. After these two months of jetting around the States, numerous transfers, red-eyes, small propeller planes shaking vigorously during the entire period between take-off and landing, and unnecessarily rough pat-downs (why is the TSA still allowed to do this?), the thought of booking yet another cross-country flight seriously pulls up a hint of nausea. I know, this is some serious first-world problem syndrome, especially since I’m not even footing the bill for most of these flights (I’ve been interviewing for graduate schools). Traveling on someone else’s pursestrings? I mean, isn’t that one of the more finer pleasures of my life?
But that’s the distinction. I’m not traveling for fun; that’s rather secondary. All these back-to-back interviews are flavored like blind dates, where an explicit decision on my end means entering into a four-year long (or likely longer) relationship with a professor that I’ve spoken intensely to for maybe an hour, at most two if you count all the in-between times, and exchanged a handful of emails with. What if I make the wrong decision? What if I don’t predict correctly?
Then again, when have I ever been all that great at predicting the future? It dawned on me recently (probably because this is the first time in my life when I’ve really been reading the news everyday) that sometimes, news headlines are actually really surprising. Like, last night when I went to sleep, there were just some peaceful protests, and then I wake up in the morning, and the world’s on fire, Putin’s taken over Poland, making my map outdated yet again. That was just a supposition, but it could happen. In fact, it’s not even so far outside the realm of expectation. And that’s it, the uncertainty, how am I ever to know? How can any of us ever know that we are making the right decision? After all, even the slow-moving mass that is human society is prone to unexpected and surprising maneuvers.
There is always the comfort of the status quo, the unchanging present, the skin depth within which everything is predictable. It’s a turbulent world out there, but I suppose the only way to make an impression on that world is to hurl myself out there, one blip on the face of humanity.
Luckily, I’m sitting in an airport right now, so I’m not just full of blithe banter and crap. I’m looking forward to a real vacation at the end (or beginning?) of all this. And yes, I am grateful that I can afford to take a vacation, and travel to beautiful far-off places, that I can coast inside a slender metal tube hurling across the sky at hundreds of miles per hour, held up in the sky by air (isn’t this stuff just crazy?) and fossil fuels, and that on the other end of each journey are thousands and millions of other individuals just like me, living intricate, complex, interwoven, yet completely unpredictable lives. Man, this is getting a bit much–but the world, it really is quite grand, and I’m not ashamed at times like this to wallow a bit in its sublime grandeur.