Travel Is an Extension of Childhood

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“Travel is an extension of childhood.”

You may have read that in the “comments” thread of a recent post: “The Superstition of Travelling”. 

“Waking up early on a summer morning in the fullness of childhood is about as good as it gets in life,” the reader continued.

It reminds me of my own childhood in Edmonton, of slipping out of bed at first light on a summer morning and speeding off on my bicycle to explore the sleeping city.  Zooming bold and swift over bridges and through empty streets, I felt invisible and invincible.  I flew low, defying laws and gravity.  I was supreme.

“But the rash and eager intensity of childhood adventure is too soon gone… expectations begin to drag us down.” 

As we grow up, “encumbered with the accoutrements of our time and age,” travel and adventure become romantic fantasies of “finding the best in ourselves”

Later in life, “our last travels are a search for lost childhood, lost innocence,” but we “seldom find our way to the images we carry in our mind.” 

Disillusionment could be the reader’s point here, but it’s not.  Instead, he finds himself nourished by the urge itself, the yearning to cut free and taste omnipotence.   However “halt and lame” we may be, “we still dream about innocence and discovery, and still make plans long into the years.”

Another reader chimed in to bolster that argument with a poignant example:

“One of my dearest friends said to me recently: I am happy; I travel in my mind, everywhere.’ Crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, the longest journey she takes these days is across the living room with two walking sticks, but her imagination knows no bounds.”

This reader concludes with: “Our early experiences are the worlds we create for visiting any time.”

As for myself, a clear summer dawn is still irresistible.  Still supreme.  Just this morning on my early jog I met a doe.  She froze.  I cupped my hands together at my mouth and blew her a cuckoo’s love song.  She returned to her breakfast grazing. 

It’s summer, friends.  Bon voyage!  However you are able.

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