Today I begin my road trip to Budapest (via Colorado, Utah, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and New Jersey… so possibly coming to a city near you). One of my favorite things in this world, as many of you know, is road trips. The feel of being on the road, traveling to new places, meeting new people, seeing old friends, always excites me. While I leave a lot behind, I gain so much in my new adventures. It is through travel and these wonderful experiences that we see how small the world actually is. We see the humanity in others, and the similarities in those we think we have nothing in common with. Perhaps this is partly why I have been so infatuated with travel stories of late. It started last year when I first read George Steinbeck's "Travels with Charlie in Search for America," and I began to feel that travel itch once again. It wasn't long after that, I had decided to travel extensively come hell or high water. I told both departments I was adjuncting for that I would not be back in the fall. The original plan was to fly to Barcelona for the European International Studies Conference in September, then spend a couple months in the city I love and have many wonderful friends, Nuremberg, Germany. I would then travel to Prague, Czech Republic for a couple months to spend time with other friends. All the while I would be focused on writing: turning my dissertation into a book, poetry, fiction, reporting what I'm seeing and experiencing, and political happenings. Once I tired of Europe, I planned on flying to India, and slowly work my way over to Thailand and Vietnam. I wanted to live and experience the most grand travel story, and maybe write it. But life has a funny way of working as I was in Vancouver for a conference, I received an email from Central European University, stating they wanted to set up an interview. With my plans formed of a great adventure, I had already forgotten about the postdoctoral position I had applied to at CEU. The position was a call for someone who did narrative politics, which was right up my alley. They emailed on a Thursday, I skype interviewed on Tuesday, and they offered me the position on Thursday. So within a week I went from gallivanting around the world to having a job in Budapest, Hungary. It seems that this is the best of both worlds, since I finally have a job that will help me progress in my career, and it also allows me to travel the world (while getting paid, added bonus).
The two months leading up to this road trip have been a rollercoaster ride, mentally and emotionally. While I had already consigned to leaving Fort Collins, it felt more real. It makes me wonder if I had not been hired, would I have gone through with my grandiose plans? I would like to think that I would, but it was comfortable in Colorado. But perhaps that's the problem, I think I was getting too comfortable, too stagnate. There is a good and bad tension that comes with being a wanderer. While you are free to do what you want, with no real attachments, and there is nothing really holding you down, it can also be very lonely. It seems that me not knowing where I will be in 6 months has always been my fall back excuse for not being in committed relationships. Constantly running, but not sure what I'm running from or to. I know I want something more, I know I don't want to be alone, I know that I want to be successful, but I'm not sure what that means or what it looks like. It's hard to tell right now what my future holds, much of that is dependent upon the next year, maybe this will be a launching pad for a great career, maybe I fall in love again, perhaps both, or possibly neither. Either way I seem to be once again in a constant state of flux, which I love and hate at the same time. Which brings me back to the road. There's something great about road trips, sometimes we hard charge on the interstate, getting from point a to point b. Sometimes we take a detour or take back roads. All the while it is as much of an internal process as it is an external process, because while we think we may know where we're going, who we will see, and what we will do, it is always subject to change, much like life. So perhaps I will see you on the road, maybe I won't, but hopefully I inspire you in some way to take your own road trips, maybe you can come see me. Again, the more we travel the better this world becomes, and the richer our lives are.