From Barcelona to B_____________?
When I launched this blog on 2012’s summer solstice in Barcelona, I was searching for a great place to wrap things up for the winter solstice on 12/21/12, the infamous “End-of-the-World” (or start of a new era?). Belize seemed the perfect choice – not only for its Mayan heritage, but for the alliteration: “Barcelona to Belize” just has a nice ring to it.
But I still haven’t decided where to spend my last day on this planet.
This morning I started thinking about some of the other “B” places I’ve been, and what these trips have meant. The places listed in the title of this post span a travel period of 25 years; each journey has been transformative in a different way.
Here’s what can happen if you travel to “B” places:
You may get frustrated because you can’t speak the language. You may learn humility for the same reason. You may diversify your palate. You may find a second family. You may discover Wanderlust is part of who you are.
You may witness a revolution. You may be followed by mobs of people like a movie star. You may be disgusted by local habits (or you may join in and learn to spit). You may spend time in a hospital without modern hygiene. You may learn to live with cockroaches in your room. You may be given snake venom, tiger balm, and foul spelling mystery brews as medicine. You may be surprised when this works. You may ride a bicycle everywhere and decide to paint it in bright colors after your third one is stolen. You may learn to bribe low level officials in order to get even the simplest things done. You may have your identity card and your allowance stolen. You may spend endless hours on trains. You may get shoved around a lot. You may get used to your mail being read and your room bugged. You may wish you could afford a $12 Mai Tai in the city’s only Western hotel.
You may find yourself breathless gazing at the beauty of a tropical ocean. You may vow to yourself never to let corporate life stop you from seeking beauty. You may have an affair with a much older man.
You may have to sleep on the ground and not be able to shower for ten days at a time. You may get dysentery so bad you feel you might die. You may learn to attract butterflies with your mind. You may learn to truly appreciate clean sheets for the rest of your life. You may hallucinate in the desert. You may use your travel time to read all the classics. You may fall in love and get married.
You may move to the other side of the planet and start a completely new career as a “witch doctor” (naturopath). You may learn this choice is not compatible with your decision to marry a “real” doctor. You may learn that no matter how large an American spider is, it’s not really BIG. You may miss ants that do not bite. May may miss central heating (and air conditioning even more). You may regret not getting that law degree. You may miss home. You may get divorced even though you still love the man.
You may feel broke and broken. You may go back to law school. You may become roommates with a crazy French lady who talks like a poodle.
You may miss a catastrophic tsunami by mere hours on your honeymoon with your next husband. You may feel blessed. You may become a lawyer.
You may learn to tango. You may learn to appreciate the amenities of five star resorts.
Your vision may go spotty as you gaze upon the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. You may have the best sex of your life. You may be be inspired to cut back your hours in what you’ve decided is the world’s worst profession. You may lose your job.
You may buy a puppy.
You may decide to write about it all.
The bottom line? No journey is wasted.
In case you didn’t recognize “Buellton” in the title of this post, it’s a small town in Santa Barbara County, right in the middle of the wine country where Sideways was filmed. It’s where we bought our dog, Natasha, three years ago and near where we’ll be wine tasting this weekend. Tasha adores road trips and will be coming too. (She may even be my first guest blogger next time?)
Cheers, until then …
Question: When was the last time you took a quick inventory of lessons learned in YOUR past journeys? Do you find such exercises useful? And if you have any ideas on where I should end this journey, I’d LOVE to hear them!