“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”
During my first trip abroad to France more than twelve years ago, a dear friend gave me the above Edward Abbey quote from his book which is an account of seasons as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah – Desert Solitare. It took some time for me to fully grasp Abbey’s intentions and how they worked in my life, but as I arrive in London today, I am being reminded of why it is so very important to not only work hard so that you can afford trips to travel, but also allow yourself the freedom to immerse yourself in traveling itself and all that the opportunity is presenting to you. And above all to continue to incorporate traveling, whether it is around the world or to investigate a nearby town as a regular opportunity you afford yourself throughout your life.
The mysterious aspect of traveling, especially to new lands, is that you can’t predict entirely what you will see, experience and feel, and that is initially thrilling, then when reality sets in – frightening, then when fully understood why it must be this way, appreciated.
What I’d like you to think about today is that unknown aspect of traveling. When contemplating this concept, I immediately am reminded of one of my favorite thought-provoking books The Alchemist. Each one of us will go on a journey through life, and if we’re brave enough, it will be a journey that begins with far more questions than answers, but the lesson that continues to resonate with me from Paulo Coelho’s international best-seller is that with time, the journey offers up answers to what began as unresolved questions, and if the traveler is listening, the journey will lead them back to who they truly are, revealing to them that the scabs of hurt, societal pressures and demands of others, can now be washed away revealing the wonderful, uniquely original person they have been all along. As Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison shared in their op-ed piece for the New York Times:
”Our wandering is meant to lead back toward ourselves. This is the paradox: we set out on adventures to gain deeper access to ourselves; we travel to transcend our own limitations. Travel should be an art through which our restlessness finds expression.”
It is quite a gift travel offers us all, and I do deem it to be the most wonderful gift which is the opportunity to grow and discover what thrills us, what tickles our toes, what melts our hearts and what brings us to tears. Listen, take note, and trust me, the fulfilling life you are striving to create will begin to reveal itself in amazingly wonderful ways.
With that said, where will you next be traveling to? Bon voyage, wherever it is and do enjoy wherever it may lead you.
Image: Taken by TSLL in London – November 2017