I used to travel a lot for business. I wish I could say that I managed to incorporate a lot of tourism into my travels but that wouldn’t be true. Usually I believed myself to be in such a hurry that I just flew in, did my job and flew out, as quickly as possible. But even with that attitude I was able to experience a lot of different cultures and see a lot of things I would otherwise never have seen.
Aside from around the U.S. my business took me to, among other places, Brazil, Australia, Israel and Malyasia. And because I travelled so much I accumulated lots of frequent flyer miles that enabled us to take long family vacations to Europe every year, as well as trips to the Caribbean and Central America. I was such a workaholic then that it was important that I get far away from the office and be very difficult to reach if I was to have any peace. In those days before the internet had succeeded in shrinking the world that was possible.
Then as I made the transition to the life we live now I commuted by plane to work every week for years. I came to hate travelling.
I would never recommend that anyone travel as much as I used to. It’s unhealthy and breeds unhappiness. But I do think it is valuable for people to actually experience other cultures and come to know people outside our cultural shells. Going to a resort in Cancun doesn’t count.
Now those travelling days are seemingly behind us. We’ve been to Haiti a couple of times but our international travelling seems to be something of the past.
I don’t miss travelling. I’m very blessed to live on a beautiful farm. There’s enough here to keep me amazed the rest of my life. But sometimes I think of places I’ve never been and wonder if I should have visited them. Sometimes I regret not drinking deeply enough at the well in some place we went.
I suppose everyone, even someone as grounded to a place as I am, has a little wanderlust in them. And some have way too much.
I remember something that happened when we were in Girona, in Catalonia, Spain. Girona is a beautiful ancient town. We met some young women there who were astonished that we, being from America, would want to see their town. They didn’t want to be there. They dreamed of going to Madrid. “Madrid es cielo,” one of them said to us. Madrid is heaven.
I’ve been to Madrid a couple of times. It’s a beautiful city with friendly people, great restaurants and fine museums. But it isn’t heaven.
My guess is that Madrid is full of people who wish they lived on the coast, or in New York.
Sometimes I wonder if we dream too much of exotic places and miss the beauty that is right in front of us.
We had a light snow last night, our first of the year. At sunrise I carried hay to the pastures. It was really beautiful. I can honestly say that there is no place I’d rather be.
As I try to drink deeply of what is right here, I have come to know that in some ways, White Flint es cielo.