It's 12:35 AM and I'm the only one awake here. I tried to sleep but I am jet lagged and just not tired. It doesn't help that I didn't wake up until 11:30 AM London time (which is my normal 7:30 AM wake up time at home).
Not sleeping gives me some time to reflect on why we're even here and why I just can't seem to settle in one place. And I realized this: traveling allows me to revel in minor successes. Living - even visiting - another country makes minor accomplishments a thrill. For instance, today I found an adaptor so that Margot could watch her DVDs on my computer. Score! Oh, and we walked to a normal grocery store and bought milk and bananas and porridge. Awesome! Margot and I ate lunch today for 2.95 pounds. A bargain! Tomorrow I plan to get a SIM card so that I can get my cell phone to work. In Philadelphia, my phone works and my computer works and I can drive to Trader Joes.
It's not the same as going to the grocery store at home. Here, I had to find out where the store is, then look it up on a map (a physical map, not mapquest.com), then load Margot (and Babi the pig) into the stroller, and then walk. Granted, shopping and such is not nearly as challenging here as it is in a developing country, but I can still manage a thrill from my own resourcefulness.
I remember when I first arrived in Thailand (ten years ago) that I thought it the most uncivilized and thrilling place on earth. Four months after I first arrived in Thailand I went to Nepal for three weeks. To this day, I specifically recall how I felt when I arrived back in Bangkok after my first trip to Nepal: I sunk into the cool air-conditioning of my taxi and thanked God I was alive and back in civilization. I felt safe. Thailand is a fully developed nation compared to Nepal - or at least it was ten years ago. What a thrill - to walk on the edge and come back to comfort. (I was, quite literally, on the edge. Public busses in Nepal plunge off cliffs all the time. It's really terrifying. You can read more here and here.)
I am starting to ramble a bit now. But know that I look forward to tomorrow's accomplishments (figuring out how to get my cell phone to work and who knows what else!)