The country of the tourist pamphlet always is another country, an embarrassing abstraction of the desirable that, thank God, does not exist on this planet, where there are always ants and bad smells and empty Coca-Cola bottles to keep the grubby finger-print of reality upon the beautiful.
A woman whom I know through the UU Fellowship as well as online via a social networking site, remains a perpetual tourist despite having lived here eight years. She writes of her disappointments when she’s missed one of the public festivals or celebrations – she and her husband have Mexican friends, so it is not a matter of being disengaged from local people; it is simply that she loves to watch the spectacle, she loves the entertainment, and she loves the color and vibrant performance.
There is another kind of perpetual tourist – the type that I represent. Faced with emotional turmoil, having to deal with myself when there is no one else’s work to be done, there’s the desire to go somewhere else. To pick up and change locale, to become busy with learning a new neighborhood or new transit routes, to become busy with busyness. The vacuum of time created by ending my association with the NGO is one such situation as I now have to deal with free time, with boredom, with nothing to do, with nothing that I want to do. The solution? To move or travel. Not because I want to travel, but because travel fills one’s time with buses, airports, delays, learning the layout of a new place. Busyness that allows one to avoid bigger issues or challenging issues – or just real issues.