I just got home from a few weeks away. I think it’s called holiday. Or vacation. Depending where you’re from. First one I’ve ever tried. And holy shit do I recommend it. I surfed beautiful waves in Portugal, strolled ancient streets of Lisbon, ate extremely well in San Sebastián, biked through a forest in France while cradling a jug of wine only to emerge from the the brambles onto an empty beach full of 6-foot reform peaks and topless sunbathers. I drove my 4-cylinder manual transmission Ibiza across all of France’s well-kept toll roads. I swam in the healing (and crystal clear) waters of the French Mediterranean, I re-entered Spain and engulfed myself in culture, remembered why I love the word gothic and once again ate like Anthony Bourdain in Barcelona. I saw Gaudi’s surrealist church. I heard a thunder clap so loud I nearly fell over trying to film it. I left more in love with life. With the world. And I did all this with data roaming OFF. Vacation!
Then I got home. To the homeland. My own bed. And a really fucked up television event.
The day after I got home I watched the second American presidential debate with Hillary Clinton and Donald fucking Trump. And while I’ve never claimed to be patriotic, or too political, I tuned in. I generally like to support potential leaders of the country who strive to ease tension with fellow countries across the world, and who generally support the well-being and equality of the human race. Call me a people person, I guess. So after washing all my clothes that were soiled in medieval European dust, I poured a glass of Californian red wine and attempted to settle back in to home life and watch the two leading presidential candidates debate the issues. What I watched didn’t make me angry. It didn’t make me proud. It made me bummed. Really, really bummed. After more than a year of narrowing down and debating who’s fit to lead our massive country, we decided that these were the most brilliant, powerful, inspiring leaders floating around this country, in a turbulent time of tense race relations, Syrian tragedy, terrorism and sketchy gun play around every corner? Really? “Did he just fucking say that?” This in front of me, on national television was who we put in front of the world to watch and take the reigns in an effort to repair the lives of those hurting?
The horror! The horror!
There were moments on my trip that I felt true euphoria. Vacation joy. Surfing in a place that your relatives didn’t know existed. Looking toward shore at castles while riding foam and fiberglass shaped in Huntington Beach. Speaking foreign languages and altogether disregarding all comfort zones. Pretty rad. What a time! You realize it’s a beautiful world. And the beauty is everywhere. Not just in front of your face. Or in your home country. It’s everywhere, and the more you can sift through the pandemonium of every day existence and see the beauty, be it our ability to fly in airplanes over clouds, or that we can do cutbacks in front of buildings that have functioning draw bridges still, it’s all pretty great. But it can also can give you pause. Wondering is there more to it? Am I not getting the whole story? Can I even handle the whole story? All of this is why it’s so scary to see who we’ve chosen to carry us forward into the future, like it’s a fucked up joke or something. I can’t laugh anymore. It’s like a bad disease we’ve been fighting, almost kicked, but has one final, potentially fatal symptom, and I’m watching him bitch and complain like a fuckhead on my television. Happy to be back…can I do another vacation please?—Travis