Sunday, March 16, 2008

what i learned on vacation

Remember high school?  When your whole world basically existed within the walls of that building?  Foreign affairs were pretty much reduced to the bus trips to opposing schools during sporting events.  And being somebody was determined by how many semicolons you needed in the yearbook index.   I hated traveling back then.   I disliked the feeling of going outside of my universe.  And my universe stayed small for a long time after high school actually.  Maybe it does for lots of small town kids.   It wasn't until a few years into college that I started caring how many cool things existed outside of my universe and whether or not I would ever see any of them.  

Now I love to go places.  I love the feeling I get when I am in an unfamiliar town and there are people simply everywhere living their own small-universe lives.  It's so freeing to let my own problems melt into the bigness of humanity.  And so inspiring to see the endless possibilities of life - where to live, where to work, what to drive.  And so powerful to understand - I guess - how little I matter.  

I never feel more important than when I stand aware, smack dab in the middle of my insignificance.  I think that's the first step to being able to matter at all.

(P.S.  The cancer checkup went well too.  I'm still free of it!)


Matt Bowman said...

First of all--WOOHOO!!!!! on the checkup.

Secondly--I LOVE to travel. As a kid, I used to dream about living out of a backpack, unencumbered by stuff, houses, normal jobs, and other such annoyances. I've been to Mexico, Germany, and Kazakhstan; and I keep an ever-growing list of places I want to go someday in my pocket notebook. If there were such a thing as past lives, I think I would probably have been a nomad of some kind. I would probably be a nomad in this one, except that four kids and a mortgage have a way of settling one. Sigh.

I think you're right about how freeing it is to experience the bigness (and, paradoxically, the sameness) of humanity. I also love that, at least for a little while, I can pretend that all my worldly possessions will fit into my backpack.

Felicity said...

I had a friend tell me once that she always imagined me with a big suitcase. She said that even though I didn't do much traveling myself, that all my friends from far off places and exotic cities, by being in relationship with me, would slap travel stickers on my suitcase. In essence, I got the benefit of their travels just because we were friends.

I hope all of that is true.

And hurray for your report!

Tracy said...

I'm a small-town girl that's come to love travel, too . . . but I must confess I have no desire to travel unemcumbered by stuff!! I LOVE Marriott hotels with the big fluffy comforters, I love flying on planes that have tv screens (even though I don't watch them!) and I love trying all the amazing restaurants from all the different areas we visit!
I do actually enjoy living a simple life, being totally content with what God has given me. But vacation has always been my sort of "Bring It On!" time. I want to see everything, do everything, and try everything!!!
Congratulations on the great check-up!

Roger & Andrea said...

Hallelujah! On the report!
I feel that way when I get up in an airplane, and look out the window at the earth as we fly over farmground as far as the eye can see, then over mountains as far as you can see, then dessert.The hugeness of it all! Where did man ever get the idea that he could possibly control, and be in charge of something so huge, diverse, and vast-just imagine what I'd do with space travel. Whoopee!!

Matt Bowman said...

Tracy--I don't mind the big fluffy comforters, in-flight TV screens, and amazing restaurants. The key for me is that they are not my stuff, and can be left behind when I move on. :-)

Tracy said...

Good point, Matt! I especially love the towels that aren't mine! I don't pick them up, I don't wash them... they just magically appear back on the shelf!

Anonymous said...

Seren I celebrate EVERY single day you are on this earth, CANCER FREE.....I love that ....cancer free....I'm gonna sing that all day long. And this is a fantastic post, not surprising in the least considering it's author.
Luv luv ya

cindi said...

You have no idea how much I can relate to this idea... I just now realized thats why i now love living in the middle of 3 million people

Anonymous said...

I used to feel discontent with my location until I realized EVERYONE else is living somewhere else and simply doing the same thing I'm doing--raising a family, making a happy marriage, managing their homes, working a job that's sometimes great, sometimes not so great. They're simply doing it in another location!

That revelation gave me my favorite saying "Bloom where you're planted"