On carrying the beautiful with us…

‘Though we travel the world over the find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not,’ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Which is to say, let it change you.

I am addicted to travel. It’s all I want to do.

I travel mainly for work, but when possible, also for fun. My Pinterest boards are full of places and spaces, bucket list destinations and photos I want to recreate for the ages, like this one of my mum in Athens as a 20 something.

photo

I’m always thinking about a year ahead, where can I go, how many points do I have, which child will I take with me? I’m becoming more of a minimalist, having less so I can do more. Experiences over stuff.

It might seem odd to ask why a person would enjoy travelling, or look for every opportunity to board a plane. Of course we love it, the break from the monotony, the adventure and excitement.

Although, it’s not particularly glamourous in economy class, budget airlines now charge for blankets and the guy who I invariably get stuck next to hasn’t showered in 3 days.

The places I go to regularly are hot and often don’t have basic services. I don’t even flinch now when the front pages of their papers announce another crime of unimaginable violence or something chaotic like overflowing sewerage in the capital city.

So what is the appeal? I love the natural beauty of a place and its calming effect on me, the relationship between the community and the earth, the sacredness of that connection so lost in my daily world. I love the ability of people to be resilient and to rise up out of poverty, I love their creativity and resourcefulness, which forces me to consider how I would cope in such circumstances. Not too well I imagine.

I love the way that things are different, it stretches my head and heart. It forces me to rethink the way I carry burdens, the way I parent, the way I care for the environment, the importance I place on things that don’t really matter.

Travel humbles me and helps me see that diversity of opinion, faith and thought are to be celebrated not feared.

I want to travel to see the beautiful, but if I only see and don’t carry beauty with me back home, I am a bystander not a participant. A tourist not a traveller.

White sneakers, matching tee shirts and a tour group following a flag? Or sitting under the mango tree on the mat – eating from the place with fluro lights and plastic chairs but the best curry you’ve ever had? Getting lost and letting a local guide you back to the path.

Of course this can be done in your own country. We become territorial creatures of habit within suburbs sometimes. Drive over the bridge, visit the mosque, stick your head inside the temple or try that Lebanese place in that suburb you’ve heard about on the news.

The question is in our openness…Can we be changed and lean in to the way this is both scary and freeing – Or find beauty not?

Thoughts for a Sunday.

*The feature pic was taken this week on an uninhabited island off the east coast of Papua New Guinea where I ate a passionfruit that tasted like musk*

Warmly,

Jane for team ‘a Girl & her world’

 

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