Back to the quote I introduced a few days ago...
The funny thing is that when I wrote that down, I was in the first month of trying to conceive. We were near Deep Creek Lake and we passed a church on the way to dinner that had this quote from Alain de Botton. I wrote it down because the journey I thought I was on in that moment was the journey to motherhood. I thought I was going to get pregnant on the first try (I mean, seriously, how could you not believe that in the way they freaked us out in high school about practicing safe sex?). In fact, I had a pregnancy week-by-week book with me on the trip so I could look up what I would be feeling in the third week of pregnancy. Yes, I truly mean the third week as in before the implantation that never happened.
So what ultimately was my journey? Trying to conceive with infertility being an obstacle? Or was motherhood the journey with trying to conceive merely the turnstile at the start of the path?
Why did this quote stop me when I found it on my palm pilot? Certainly, I think we can all agree that there are thoughts that came from my journey. An entire blog full of thoughts. But de Botton was speaking literally about travel in this quote. His book is about "how we imagine places before we have seen them" (or...perhaps...babies before we've seen them?). And "the soothing effects of train travel and its ability to stimulate the imagination and help us work through problems."
Is it that simple; just hop on a train and you'll be able to see your entire world an an entirely new light? You'll find the solution to whether it's more sensible to adopt or try one more IVF cycle. Or whether you should try the testicular biopsy or move to donor sperm. I think too many times, we take our troubles with us to a new location. All we've done is move places with our baggage--we haven't actually unpacked it. And if we were to open the bag and unpack it, we would see the same damn sweaters and jeans that we had worn back home--just now in a new space. Folded into a new, temporary drawer.
Do I think that I have come up with new ideas while on a journey? Of course. I can think of plenty of times when I've had the luxury just to stare out the car window for a solid hour, not distracted by doing anything other than thinking. And I've come up with story ideas or ways to word a letter or job prospects. But I've never made the big decisions that way. A good long cry is the midwife of those thoughts. And when a solution to a problem has been discovered on a trip, I've never felt like it was the act of traveling that created it. When a new understanding has occurred while I'm away from home, it's simply because it was the right time. My mind was finally able to accept the answer that had been buried in those twisty coils of tissue for probably months without recognition.
I'm hearing de Botton's smarmy voice in my head saying, "uh uh Melissa. You are too simple. Think back to your travels. The first Clomid was taken on the road. The first Follistim injection was given in a hotel room. All the turning points have been away from home. I am...how do you Americans say....correct."
Maybe dear Alain has a point.
This is also the point where you add in your favourite church signs...