Confessions of
an Addict...
It began when I was very young. Dancing around the Denver metro
area to the tune of my Mother's many whims, I developed a taste for
a dangerous drug called
ADVENTURE. Relocating frequently, I
mastered the art of packing at the drop of a hat, and learned how to
leave
all my precious friends behind. By the time I was a jaded
sixteen, I’d attended
TEN Colorado schools, and had visited NINE
different states.

Trains, planes, automobiles, buses – mere travel paraphernalia,
I’
d abused them all. Even from the back of my Mother's BMW
motorcycle I’d watched, as yellow dashes rolled by like rails of crystal
meth, I was hooked and didn’t even know it. By eighteen, I was
mainlining highways and smoking cracked roads, and wasn’t even on
to the hard stuff yet. By the time I reached twenty, the temptation
of information was all around, ready to present itself, so when a
friend in
Texas flashed a book at me, I tumbled right in. She
introduced me to her favorite pusher,
Lonely Planet, a guidebook that
promised both pleasure and pain, and I was immediately seduced by
what its pages contained. No longer limited to the roads of America, I
could pick up and go almost anywhere. And just like every dedicated
junkie wants to hear,
this high was dirt cheap. I could get my world
travel fix on a shoestring budget. Didn’t have to be rich. Didn’t have
to be famous. Just had to be willing to roll up that sleeve, to tie off
that vein, to get completely strung out, which I gladly did.

It started out slowly with a honeymoon in
England and Wales. My
newlywed husband was only a dabbler at this point, and hadn’t
acquired the taste, not to the degree that I had, so I set out, as most
junkies do, to drag him down.
I mean, come on? Why would I want
to experience the hallucinatory magnificence of
Costa Rica all alone?
And how hard was it to cross the razor's edge into
Canada? We were
living in
Seattle, for cryin’ out loud. Yeah, he went along, but still
managed to keep his addiction at bay.

That’s when I spiraled. My first real binge?
The Netherlands, France,
Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Hungary
. After that, I cleaned up
for a while. Then my marriage took a turn for the worse, and I was
back at it again.
Alone. No 12 step program could save me now.
Uppers in
Italy. Downers in Greece. It wasn’t until Turkey, that my
mate came around, embracing that grand old axiom - If you can’t
beat 'em, join 'em! - and together we experienced the ecstasy of our
world. But of course, for junkies, it’s never enough. So when I laid out
plans for the really hard stuff -
India - my mate turned away, and I
was alone once again.

Now you know you’re really bad off when you’re sitting on a broke
down bus for six hours in the middle of
Rajasthan, with no water, no
food, it's hot as hell, you're surrounded by sweaty people and crying
babies, and nine men are scrambling, trying to get the metal junk
heap you’re dying on back up and running, you’re hating every
second, ruing the moment that you decided to leave your beloved
mate and make this perilous journey, all the while you're perusing the
pocket calendar in front of you, trying to figure out how long it will
take to save enough money to get back to this God-awful place. Yes.
You know you're gone.
Really gone. And nothing can stop you. Not
even the nasty case of dysentery you picked up on the
Delhi Express
before coming home, as you roll around in agony on the floor of a
crummy motel on the seedy side of
Seattle, hanging onto the phone
like it’s a life preserver, trying to convince the husband that you left
behind, that he really needs to see
India for himself. I mean, forget it.
You’re a fucking lost cause.

But you're also a damn good pusher, and after a great deal of
pleading and begging, your mate finally relents, following you back to
that dark and mysterious land, as well as to other strange places, and
you know you’ve done your part as a good junkie, because now he's
totally strung out, too. And together you plan more adventures. Ones
you hope can tame this unruly beast. Then maybe you can shake the
monkey off your back and settle down.

Yeah, right.
Whatever.
Never trust a junkie.
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All Writing and Photography on this site is
the Creative Property of Connie M. Van Cleve
Copyright © 2010
All Rights Reserved

Trip In My World
The Ramblings and Misadventures
of a
Travel Junkie