Friday, March 8, 2013

It's not always Asia.

I’m headed to Miami next week for something like my 10th or 12th visit.  A real traveler might ask why go back to the same place again and again when there’s a whole world of places to visit?  And indeed, there are. I agree.  But Miami meets all my needs for a trip so much closer to home than say, Yangon.  I can get to Miami in a little more than two hours by plane from Philadelphia.  I can leave my snowy neighborhood in the morning and be laying on the beach in the sun well before lunch.  On the other hand, that shouldn’t be the only reason to visit a destination either.  I can get to Camden, New Jersey in 30 minutes, but that doesn’t mean I want to visit.

I travel because I want to be somewhere as unlike my suburban Philly neighborhood as I can get (although Camden, the drug dealing murder capital of the area also meets that criteria!).  The feeling I get in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by people who look and act nothing like me and visiting places that resemble nothing in my hometown is why I travel.  It’s one of the reasons I love Southeast Asia so much. The people there could not be more different than me and my middle class friends and coworkers.  And the same, oddly enough, goes for Miami.

I love the Latin vibe and the crazy partying that goes on well into the early morning.  I love the outrageous and glamorous hotels.  I love the sexy, revealing clothes flaunted by men and women alike.  I love it all because it's so different.  Being there gives me a few days to strip away the working professional boring mom exterior and become someone I am not for a little while.  

Or maybe I am really myself in Miami and I just hide it most days at home?

Don't get me wrong, I love Europe too.  I enjoy the culture, the architecture, the history, the food.  But Europeans look and dress an awful lot like me (OK, maybe a more put-together, stylish me), they live in homes and apartments a lot like mine, drive cars and have jobs similar to mine.  In Asia, or even Miami for that matter, it's just all so different.

In Asia where everything is unfamiliar I am an adventurous, interesting and courageous woman who jets off by herself to parts unknown.  When back home, aren't I just another drone working to pay the bills, save for retirement and raise my teenage daughter?  In Luang Prabang, Laos I can be someone else.  Someone who doesn’t have a big mortgage or a desk job.  There I'm an aspiring travel writer, or photographer, or a cook.  In Laos my life is romantic and creative.  I could be anybody.  I am anybody.

Last spring, The Raleigh Miami Beach

So in just a handful of days I will be back in Miami all dressed up, mojito in hand.  Who will I be?

No comments:

Post a Comment