Think of this like a thesis from my 4-year overseas education, a “master’s degree in life.” I share it not as an evangelist, but an offering.
The tendency following tragedies like Christchurch is to point an angry finger. But in doing so, are we embodying the world we want to live in?
Many people make a mistake. They spread the idea that spirituality is a “lifestyle.” But spirituality is not a lifestyle.
As a traveler my kindness is what I have to give, and it feels good to give it, regardless of the outcome. And kindness often comes back to me.
Along with self-knowledge the road has given me innumerable gifts of experience, from the mundane to the once-in-a-lifetime, from tragedy to triumph, and every point in between. It’s one thing to learn from these experiences, however. It’s another to learn what I’ve learned.
The typical cliché used to describe people like me who go traveling for extended periods of time is to say that, “He is finding himself.” Setting aside the belittling way that expression is generally used – as if the instinct for self-discovery is to be mocked rather than celebrated – after almost 17 months on the road I’ve found the common idea of “finding oneself” to be totally inaccurate.
In March, I visited the movie-set-turned-tourist-attraction of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand. This was the actual location used for the filming of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies.
They say we never forget our first time, and in my experience that maxim applies to more than just its colloquial uses for drugs and sex. For me at least, it applies to travel, as well.
The worst was that in looking at MY OWN image, I could see everything I sought to avoid knowing about myself. I couldn’t hide that. I had to transform it.
Of all the feelings we are meant to feel, and thus accept, I think heartbreak is the hardest.