Wow, there is nothing that can bring about a change of perspective like traveling does.
If you ever feel caged, depressed, trapped inside the everlasting dullness of your daily routine and hating it, take a trip. And don’t forget your kids. Somewhere, between kilometre 132 and 158, after you have changed two diapers full of poop in the backseat of your car and listened to three different CDs of baby music, after the desperate recurrence of “Are we there yet?!” has finally subsided giving way to drooling snores, your old homey routine will begin to look mighty cozy.
In fact, I have been back home for three days now, and the memories of last week’s vacation are barely starting to seep into my consciousness. Understandably so, since I spent the other two sleeping.
I could write a short story about the odd old Austrian farmer letting us the apartment, with his knee-high socks and knee-length shorts, about his feathered hat and his meadow full of flowers and herbs, about the smell of horses at the riding school just down the road, or the harsh, cold beauty of the jagged peaks, still dappled with snow, where a platform juts out over the abyss to give you a better look of the valley and lake. And yet, all I seem to remember in some detail are the playgrounds, the inside of restaurants and the blind-less windows of our cabin, that caused my daughter to wake up in screams at 5:30 a.m. every single morning. I remember having a cold and watching the clouds circling ’round like dark wet vultures for hours and then releasing that downpour after all.
Grueling as it appeared to be at the time, given the sleepless nights, the fussy kids and my unrelenting sinusitis, this trip has fed my soul, as all traveling does. It has opened up new horizons, shown me that there is something out there beside the mash-and-diaper fixation, and, like a good wine kept bottled for a long time, will now begin to unleash its tasty, tempting fragrance inside my thoughts. Somewhere, not too far from here, there are rocks and grass, caves and cablecars, rafters and horseback riding, colours and freshness. Somewhere, not too far from here, there are polite old Austrians who will move slowly, chop wood in the evenings, and call you “gnädige Frau”. Somewhere, not too far. Between Dachstein and Attersee.
So stop complaining and go check it out. And take your kids, too. It’s hard but it’s worth it.