A funny thought struck me recently.
I was sitting on my couch watching TV and I realized that I missed Tennessee. Yes, I was only there a week ago but I was missing it. Which got me thinking - why? How do I miss a place I haven't spent much time in?
I also miss New Orleans. And Florida. And Memphis. I can close my eyes and am instantly transported to these places. What is it that happens that makes it feel as though I am right there?
I think it starts when I get to go out and see the area around where I'm staying. When I get to know the state and it's geography. Sitting at an intersection and looking around. Seeing it's lumps, bruises, bulges and valleys. Watching the way the sun reflects off the stream or hides behind it's hills. How the wind whistles through the trees or glides around the buildings. Listening to the birds sing and the cars rumble by. Feel the way the heat bounces of my skin and the humidity makes my hair stick to my neck.
It's having my best friend next to me and laughing. Making our own inside jokes and surviving heat and terrible storms. Eating fabulous food. Seeing and hearing things that I can't experience at home. Learning how people drive in cities other than your own. Smiling at people you don't know. Being a little loud. Trying a new cocktail.
And then I realized: it's all these things that make me leave part of my heart behind and have a fragment of my soul stay without me.
People talk about travel making you feel more whole. I disagree. If you're traveling correctly, you should leave parts of you behind (no, not your toothbrush). The more you travel the more you should have pieces of yourself scattered about. To me, that's what travel is about.