Monday, October 22, 2012

Holy Cow! 7 Weeks?!?

Last night, Jahsiah and I watched an Australian movie entitled, Wish You Were Here. It told the story of two sisters who travel to Cambodia with their husband and new boyfriend, respectively. After a night of doing drugs and partying too hard, the boyfriend goes missing. I won't spoil the movie for anyone, as it was good and worth watching. For Jahsiah and I though, the movie was perhaps not the best thing to have watched last night, as we both felt uneasy and nervous afterwards. As I brushed my teeth, getting ready for bed right after the movie ended, I realized that we were leaving in approximatley 7 weeks. That's about 49 days (even though we don't have a set departure date). That's not very far away at all! And watching a movie about everything that can go wrong when traveling in a foreign, far-off land, well, that's a bad idea when you are about to do just that!

We laid in bed like little kids the night before a trip to Magic Mountain or Disneyland. We were giddy, hyper, so nervous I could hear our heartbeats. Realizations of what we are about to embark on started to become just that, real, as opposed to things way off in the distance that one day we would do. When we came back three years ago from our first attempt at driving through Central America, we said we do it again. But three years is a long time to say you will do something. And that's all it has been, just saying it. But now, we are at the point of really doing it. I will admit, I am nervous and a bit scared.

Saint Augustine of Hippo
When my heart starts beating fast, and my mind starts racing and I almost want to back out and just keep on living my simple, normal, mundane, expected life, I remind myself of two things. The first is a quote that I read for the first time in Costa Rica. It was painted on the wall of the last hostel in San Jose that Jahsiah, Timmy, and I stayed in during our 2009 trip. "The world is a book, those who don't travel, read only a page." Saint Augustine of Hippo,  the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, and the alleviation of sore eyes, is credited to have said this beautiful quote. He lived in modern day Algeria, when it was part of the Roman Empire. His birthday is November 13th, go figure, he's a Scorpio, too. I love this quote because for me, traveling is the only way to understand the world, and therefore, each other as humans. But it also touches on reading, which is something that I struggled with so much as a child and young adult. Now I love to read and when I have the time, I enjoy it. But this was not always the case. I am dyslexic so reading can be quite laborious for me at times, even still. This is where I see a parallel. Reading and traveling are not always the easiest things to do. They both require mental aptitude, more so than sitting on your couch, watching Netflix night after night. And when you read and travel, you gain so much. Quite often, the fruits of your labor are not seen from either experience until much further down the road. But if you put in that energy and effort to learn of new worlds, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary, far off places, different cultures, characters with their own stories to tell, you will become a better person, for your view will now encompass theirs' as well. And if you can see through the lens of someone else, you can better understand them. In a time where we are constantly being shown how different we are from the rest of the world, from different religions and cultures, I think it is incredibly important that we find our commonalities, and throw off the xenophobic view of the boob tube.

The other thing I remind myself of when I start to think I am making a crazy, and perhaps poor choice of my immediate future, is a poem by my favorite poet, Robert Frost.
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.        20
I didn't really get this poem the first time I heard it, and I'm not even sure when or where that was. But I knew I liked Robert Frost and I knew this poem was about traveling so it always stuck with me. More and more, I think of this poem when I make decisions and wonder whether or not they are the right decisions to make. Because life is just that, a series of decisions, that once made, cannot be unmade, and set us down paths we will not have time to back-track on. Once you start down a road, you must continue down that road, even if it wasn't the right road. Now there will be forks in the road, and you will have the chance to decide between left or right, but you will not be able to go back. "I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." This is the line that gets me. This is the line that I strive to personify. I want to always be on the road less traveled by. I want to pioneer into the unknown. I want to discover mysteries that modern science or television would have us believe do not exist. Like ancient maps that warned of dragons and sea serpents, I want to find mythical monsters and gentle beasts, the stuff of fairy tales. And you can't find that if you always stay on the paved road, with stop lights, safety cameras, and lots of traffic.

So even though I'm nervous, maybe even a little bit terrified, I have to keep reading this book that is the world. I have to find the dragons, the mermaids, the monsters that live somewhere down that road less traveled by. And I have to not watch movies that make traveling seem scary right before I venture into the unknown.  Now, I just need to pick out a good book for the trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment