“And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubt if I should ever come back.” – Robert Frost
When I sat down at this beach side dinner table I didn’t know where we’d go next. We had just spent a week and half on a Cambodian island without internet and, as a google search ran me through the convincing argument of cheap flights, the possibilities seemed endless. Things I did know: Every city, site and smell I had experienced in the past six weeks I worshiped and promised to come back to. In particular– Bangkok. I pine for Bangkok. I adore Bangkok. I am in love with Bangkok; she is too good for me but I lust after her with all my spare thought.
So when we sat down to dinner tonight, I thought, “we’ll be going back to Bangkok in a couple weeks. Just you wait and see! I have willed it so and so it shall be!”
The universe never works that way.
Reader, 10 minutes ago we bought tickets to Malaysia on January 9th . Kuala Lumpur to be exact. From there we will go forward to India and from there to Nepal and then on to Europe and eventually home. We are not going back to Bangkok. Forward only.
We have debated it often: if promising to return to a place cheapens it because maybe you don’t ever really have to appreciate it in the present (Teague’s position) or if promising to return to a place means that you love it so much, you can’t bare to part (my position).
The truth is, m’dear, the world is a damn big place and there are so many spaces to give your heart to. As a traveler, you can’t help but feel a little bit of that old fiery ache each time you catch a plane or board a bus to crawl steadily away from the place that you temporarily called home.
And I think about that Robert Frost poem my mom used to recite to me as a child: “Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubt if I shall ever come back.”
When I left Bangkok last, I thought I would return, but knowing how way leads onto way…
So, this I ask of you reader: if you desire it, TRAVEL. Anywhere and as often as possible. Near or far. Wherever. Love every nook and cranny that the world has to offer and love it so intensely that the thought of never comin’ back breaks your heart. Have a great love affair with the earth. Know that you may never come back and love it more for that. Do it for me. Dammit, do it for you. Do it for the exquisite pain of heartbreak. Do it for the love of new love. Do it because you’re sadistic and curious about the world. Do it because you must.
Do it and tell incandescent Bangkok hello for me.