In 2008 and 2009 I filled out this end-of-the-year survey that asked me to rate my happiness, sadness and defining moments of the year*. It also asked me how far I traveled and what countries I visited.
When I answered that travel question I felt like it was mocking me. I hadn’t gone anywhere out of the country either year–was I supposed to go somewhere? But there’s so much to see here! Don’t you know about John Brown and Bleeding Kansas? I live blocks away from history and haven’t even traced those routes.
But at the end of last year I reread those questions and answers and realized I was moving in circles and making myself a comfortable path.
While comfortable is good it’s been getting a little too comfortable, and you know “the doors of life must be shaken to test the hinges and bolts,” “you’ve got to try your luck at least once a day because you could be going around lucky all day and not even know it” etc, etc…
And Globe Trekker!
I fell in love with public programming when I was an oppressed child with twelve television channels.
I’d watch Arthur and Zoom on weekday afternoons on PBS, followed by the Simpsons on Fox (JUDGE AWAY, still love it, it gave me my humor–as did In Living Color) then I’d move on to reading or playing for the rest of the night.
On the weekends it was all play and the occasional episode of Globe Trekker, which then turned into a regular schedule of weekend Globe Trekker (when I could figure out what time it was starting). SHORT TANGENT: I could never remember how to convert Eastern Standard or Pacific Time to Central Time…because I was really, really, ridiculously smart… obviously.
Anyway, I loved watching Globe Trekker because I imagined I was taking notes for future trips: the tea gardens in Asia, finding and walking with a nomad in the Gobi desert, walking barefoot through temples or sanctuaries, plates of fish in Nordic regions, mounds of meat in Germany and so on.
Admittedly, I’m still taking those notes but the list is getting so long that I forget where I’m at and what I’m resolved to do. Holly Golightly can only remind me that there’s such a lot of world to see for so long before her words begin to mean nothing.
“And think of a what a specialist misses–the whole world over his fence.”
Maybe I should take a long walk to Canada or up the Pacific coast. Maybe I should go to Alaska and re-imagine the Bering Strait. Maybe I should fish in Newfoundland and cook over an open fire. Maybe it is about time to get lost and get found.
And did you know that marmots in Mongolia can still carry the bubonic plague and there’s no way to boil it out or get rid of it? And that in Ulan-Bataar in Mongolia almost every car can act as a taxi and that remnants of the old communist Russian rule still exist in ghost towns? And in populated towns (namely, VODKA)?
Maybe I’ll milk a cow in Mongolia.
*I always had trouble with this because I like Beverly Ann Donofrio’s statement that life “four or five days that change everything.” I can’t imagine having all of mine in one year, but I guess if it happens, it happens.