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Travel Quotes: Reflections from Frances Mayes

I’ve shared travel quotes from the little notebook I’ve been collecting them in for more than 15 years. Naturally, I’ve come up with more since I published that post, and I wanted to share a few from Frances Mayes in her book, A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate TravelerHer descriptions of place and even of travel as a whole really are captivating me, and I recommend you read it yourself.

On Traveling vs. Being a Homebody

New York City Central Park
The need to travel is a mysterious force. A desire to go runs through me equally with an intense desire to stay at home. An equal and opposite thermodynamic principle. When I travel, I think of home and what it means. At home I’m dreaming of catching trains at night in the gray light of Old Europe or pushing open shutters to see Florence awaken. The balance just slightly tips in the direction of the airport.

This really resonated with me! When I get back from a long trip, all I want to do is ground myself in my home, soak up the comfort of the nest that I have created. And yet, it’s only a matter of weeks before a gorgeous photo of a new destination on Instagram piques my interest and I start daydreaming of my next adventure.

I think there’s a balance to be achieved in traveling versus enjoying your “real life.” And for me, rooting in a place by renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel helps with that. It aids in creating a sense of home, no matter where you are.

On Discovering New Places You Love

Tower in Saorge
One of those flash epiphanies of travel, the realization that worlds you’d love vibrantly exist outside your ignorance of them.

Here, Mayes is talking about Portugal, I believe. She lives part of the year in Cortona, Italy, and when she first visited, it spoke to her as a place she deeply connected to. It’s interesting in this book that she finds other places she could love just as much. She fantasizes about remodeling homes in many cities in Europe.

I remember after I’d studied French for 12 years, having the epiphany that I could learn another language. I felt so loyal to French and felt like dedicating my life to it. But just like Mayes with different locales, it occurred to me that I could embrace other languages and cultures and be the better for it.

For me, Saorge is that home away from home, at least so far. I can see myself living there part of the year. But who knows? My upcoming trip to Poland might make me fall in love with another place entirely. That’s the beauty of travel.

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