In general I think I've adjusted quite well to 'civilian life.' Being off the canvass has given me the time and leisure to explore hobbies, books and places that I never had the luxury for before. Today I biked to the grocery store and picked up ingredients to make french toast. I laid out on the grass and a read a book. And I just woke up from my beer-induced mid-adfternoon nap. (I think the free Sam Adams brewery tour might become a Saturday staple.) As I woke, this poem came into my head:
In winter I get up at night And dress by yellow candle-light. In summer quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day.
-Robert Lewis Stevenson
It's hard to say how much A Child's Garden of Verses influenced me as a child. I couldn't recite any of the poems now like I can nursery rhymes, but reading them now, they all come back vividly, and with the pictures that accompanied them in my book.
I think the book stayed with me mainly because I remember the tattered copy my mom gave me, saying, "This was my favorite book growing up." I took that seriously.
I realize today that the simple child wonderment at everyday simple things in the world is something I try to capture everyday and something that travel gives you. One of the things I lvoe most about traveling is the pure joy you get from doing everyday things in a foreign place: taking the train, speaking to a friend, going grocery shopping, even taking a shower. Everything is new and different.
I find myself able to reclaim that feeling at will now, the feeling of wonder as the season turns, noticing the arcitectural details that lie above my normal line of vision when I walk to work, turning down a different street than I normally would take to the grocery store.
I find myself staring at the big poster of the coast of France across from my bed.
Is travel my drug?
Some of R.L. Stevenson's dreaming of travel poems: