Yesterday I was cleaning out my backpack and pulled out my journal from our recent vacation. I scribbled the following introspective entry toward the end of our flight from Philadelphia to Prague.
DATELINE: “Somewhere over France” – It’s 2:00 in the morning (EST), 8:00 in Prague, and we just flew over the countryside north of Paris. Our speed is 559 mph and we’re at a little over 40,000 feet. It’s an interesting sensation to realize we are over European soil, not far south from where I spent the first 19 years of my life.
I wonder if I will ever see England again? Other than a brief stop at Gatwick in 2014, four days for my cousin Linda’s funeral in 2010, and a quick week with Andrew in 1999, our last visit of any length was the epic family vacation when we introduced our children to The Old Country in 1992. I was 36 years old.
Over the last 27 years, I have spent a total of twelve days in England.
To be clear, I am very much American. But I will admit to a faint calling from the roots of my beginnings, even up here at 40,000 feet, high over the continent.
I wonder quite how that works? What mystery of origin drums a quiet heartbeat? What speaks – whispers – a siren beckoning? Would I feel this if I did not know I was raised there? Is this innate, visceral, psychological? Or (more likely) the product of fatigue, too much airplane coffee, and a lack of sleep!
I believe I will have to return so that I can find out. Maybe this is why I travel there in my next novel? I was wondering why…?
Now, Saturday morning September 7, my feet firmly rooted in actual home here in Wake Forest, my early morning musings on a flight over Europe lack the conviction they owned at the moment.
But I do wonder. I wonder if some kind of internal GPS really did hone in on some primitive navigational signal? I wonder what it would be like to stand on the East Cliff above The Arches Beach, look along the coastline toward Dover, and then hike down into the town?
I love to travel; we love to travel; Rebekah and I together, exploring new places and experiencing new cultures. But in the best adventures, even lifelong journeys, sometimes it’s a good thing – a beautiful thing – to circle back.
Don’t worry; I’ll get over it 🙂