There are probably as many reasons to travel as there are people who travel. I have a whole list of things I love about it. Art and architecture, culture and color, people, places, food and fashion. Most of all, I travel for the experience. I’m with my best friend, Diane, and this is a long trip for us—almost two full months on the road. From apartments with two bedrooms, a kitchen and spaces large enough to dance, to the tiniest of hotel rooms with two feet between the single beds pushed right up to the peachy pink walls and a bathroom where you sit on the toilet to shower with a hand held faucet dribbling water, each day is filled with unforgettable experiences. I’ll admit, I sometimes can’t remember which city we were in or what day it was, but I remember the laughter, the exhaustion, the exhilaration, the waiting, the getting through it to the next thing, and the incredible gratitude for a life that allows me to live deeply and expansively.
Along the way, I get to work on my own issues. Trust, self-confidence, authenticity, trust, courage, fear, creativity, trust and responsibility.
I said trust, right?
Here’s the picture. I’m 62, just got divorced after 20 years of marriage. Don’t have a real job or ever any prospect of that again. Don’t have a home of my own. After I pay my taxes next month, I’m kind of broke. I’ll eventually have my social security and some income from a rental apartment which will allow for a sort of subsistence lifestyle if I choose to stay in Vancouver, BC.
Which I’m not sure I will do. In fact, I’m not sure of too much.
Which is why trust has been such an issue.
Okay. Not exactly. Trust has been the issue my whole life. This period is simply highlighting the issue so I can work on it and come to a new understanding of what it means and how it operates.
It may mean I have to trust my friends when they say they will help me. It may mean I have to trust the people who say, “come visit, stay for a while.” Most assuredly it means I trust when Jesus said don’t worry about life, what you will eat or what you will wear, he meant it in a concrete, tangible way. It’s not a metaphor. It means, DON’T WORRY.
In other words, trust.
Admittedly, I have a life view that lends itself to not worrying. I believe we are on a path to enlightenment, that we reincarnate again and again as we learn our lessons and have our experiences, that even the most grim of human experiences can be valuable and that Divine Love is all that really exists or matters.
Still, when faced with how, exactly, will I pay my taxes or what, exactly, do I put down on forms that ask for my permanent address, or what, exactly, happens if I break my leg in the next few years, all my heady, intelligent, oh so very spiritual understanding can evaporate into Oh, My God, Oh, My God, Oh, My God, what’s going to happen to me?
And there it is, the perfect opportunity to move from the head to the heart, from believing in trust to actually trusting. For which of us knows exactly how anything will happen? We think we are in control but we’re not. Events unfold in magical or tragical fashion and mostly we are the interpreters of what is happening, not the orchestrators. The interpretation is the area where we have choice, and for me trust means choosing to see life as a flowing river moving perfectly toward the ocean of Divine Love. As I move in harmony with that flow, without worry, life is fine. When I choose to fill a backpack with worry, strap it on and swim upstream, life’s not so much fun.
This brings me back to travel. When I travel, I have a level of trust that if I get lost, someone will help me find the way back. I trust for every truly bad meal I have in an overpriced touristy place there will be an equal or higher number of wonderful meals in tiny shacks or backyard gardens or (as happened recently in Turkey) a corner burger bar smack in the heart of the tourist traffic where the food unexpectedly and delightfully exceeded expectations. I trust if I miss the plane, there will be another plane or some other mode of transportation where I meet an amazing person. I trust these things because I have experienced these things over and over again as I travel. And the more I travel with trust, the more space there is for travel magic.
As I learn to travel my own life with the trust I have as I travel the world, life unfolds like a flower. And it is beautiful.
Nice one Wendy! Thinking of you sometimes as the scene on the street shifts and changes. Happy trails and tales. Thank goodness there are more good people than bad people in the world and yes, trust is a grand gift that usually works out. Our South African family was horrified that I walked around a few places on my own in broad daylight with loads of people around… but they would not have done so. You can stay home and stay safe and closed or wander out with radar on and eyes open and have an adventure that leads to new and unexpected places. Good luck on your journey and look forward to seeing you one of these days.
Cheers! From Paula & Dennis
Wendy: please let me know when you’re next in Oregon or Washington. I would love to see you. Wish me luck next week–I’m immersed in music planning for UUA general assembly. love, Susan
Did you visit Rumi’s tomb?