A chapter of my life is drawing to a close. I have been a performing arts presenter for many years, involving numerous hours of contemporary dance viewing and thousands of miles of international travel. It has been a perfect job and I have loved and appreciated it almost all of the time. And, when one is very lucky, the opportunity to close such a satisfying life chapter on one’s own terms presents itself at just the right moment.
I knew it was that moment, last fall, in one of my favorite cities and countries in the world, Johannesburg, South Africa, at a dance festival brimming over with brilliant artists, great friends and fascinating performances. Instead of reveling in the richness of it all, I found myself depressed and bored except during performances. I felt tired and gray and disinterested in everything else around me. It was either the flu or time to end the presenting part of my life. Turns out both things were true.
Knowing what I knew, I invited two of the artists I admire most to bring their new dance “Inkomati (Dis)cord” to Albuquerque as the closing act of Global DanceFest. I came home, went to bed for a day or so—and got up ready for the next chapter!
The scariest thing about this change of plans was however—not only did I not want to present dance any more—my desire to visit all of the countries in the world seemed to simultaneously vanish. What a shock. How could a goal so integral to my life just evaporate?
Because of a previous commitment I did go to the Dominican Republic (still bored) and Haiti (not bored) over the end-of-year holidays and then on a very big, road trip this spring/summer. But that previously omnipresent travel itch felt all scratched and scabbed. I just wasn’t sure I needed to get to the 105 countries left on my list.
Now, thank god, in the early hours of September 2013 I think my travel mojo is returning. I am feeling that first desire or restless stirring—not desire like you want a new car, more like when your peace of mind is interrupted during the first days of a new love, maybe a suggestion of lust disturbing your calm.
I think that’s what I was feeling today when the Thomas Jefferson biography on my nightstand—read through page 37—was replaced by “To the Moon and Timbuktu” and “The Revenge of Geography.” And I noticed last Sunday I went to the travel section of the Times first. And my map of the Arabian Peninsula appeared back on the coffee table. And I started missing Anthony Bourdain. And and and…. Yes, it is back. The itch, the bug, the fever, the lust, whatever you want to call that desire to be moving through the world… out your window a new scene, tonight a new room, tomorrow a new language or food or smell or sight. Yay, it’s back.
THE REAL BIBLE.