Every time I travel, I have this crazy thought on the last day of my trip.
It usually hits me as I’m packing up my belongings and mulling over the trinkets I’m bringing back, as I’m standing in the garden of the Airbnb I rented, or walking the streets of this far-off country for one last time.
It doesn’t actually matter what I’m doing. It’s the fact that it’s my final day before heading home that makes this thought pop into my head, like clockwork.
It’s simple: what if I never left?
This fantastical question starts out as one tiny sentence in my ear, but then morphs into so much more. A mirage of questions and possibilities, and eventually a full blown plan of action. A question becoming a narrated episode in the matter of minutes.
It goes like this:
What if I just never went to the airport? If I ran away from the hotel I’m staying in and completely skipped my flight. What would happen next?
To state the obvious, I would not be landing in John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City (my current home base) within X hours. My family would have no idea where I was. Would I tell them that I decided to stay back and not return home just yet?
I’d have to. In order to avoid a Liam Neesom-type episode with a swat crew searching for me, and an expensive bill my family would foot for an investigation that would lead nowhere.
So I’d tell them. And they, along with my conscience, would question my job, my bills, my responsibilities, maybe even my sanity.
But I could make it work, I tell myself. I’d get a job at a bakery or coffee shop, scooping gelato or serving beer to start. I’d pick up the language in a matter of 2-3 months and then, maybe I could teach English at a local school.
I’d rent a little apartment with my savings and new earnings. Nothing fancy, just the bare necessities of a kitchen, bathroom, and bed. Maybe a nice view or a private patio if I’m lucky. I’d forgo a television, shop at the local markets and ride a bicycle to save money. I’d befriend my neighbors, make friends with locals, and get lost in a city that I’d eventually call home.
Maybe not forever, maybe not for long at all. But the tantalizing idea of skipping one flight and completely changing my life in the blink of an eye is almost too tempting to pass up.
So on my last day of travel, as I shower in the tiny hotel bathroom, eat my final croissant for breakfast and say hello to local merchants with a sad twinkle in my eye, I consider what it might take to turn this fantasy into a reality.
I highly doubt I’m the only one who’s let this scenario play out in their mind when traveling.
Perhaps it’s just that wanderlust feeling pulling on our heartstrings, creeping into our minds and whispering “Don’t go!” as we pack our bags. Or maybe it’s a subconscious desire to throw everything to the wind — forget all our responsibilities and leave the world behind us.
This post originally appeared on Savotuer. Read the full article here.