Uh oh, don’t tell my husband, but I am at it again. Being generously released by my family to go on a 24 hour mama getaway, I have spent hours walking along the beach in wet, stormy, weather thinking through and releasing angst, worry, frustrations and the feeling of “being spread too thin” that I’ve felt over the last number of weeks. Now, I find myself dreaming again.
I have spent a couple of indulgent hours camped out with one of my favorite travel blog writers Jenn Miller. She blogs at www.edventureproject.com and writes frequently at www.bootsnall.com. A mama of four, she is witty, candid and brutally honest about the joys and challenges of a location independent/ travelling family lifestyle (seven years so far). She is deeply committed to her own journey and heart transformation along the way, and as she is a little further along in parenting and life, I appreciate her insights and experiences.
While I am dreaming about future trips and places I want to see as a family, I am much more realistic about the hard work that pursuing those dreams will be. Last I heard from my husband, he’s pretty happy to stay put for a while…. I get it, logistically it a lot of work, but on a deeper level, it is a lot of work dealing with the inner change and transformation that inevitably goes on when you open yourself up to so much new. To say that “travelling changes a person,” is an understatement.
While I am thoroughly enjoying the conveniences of my life right now, places and people far away are deep in my thoughts. My heart is in Nepal these days, I have good friends living there, and as a nation, it is in a poor state. Post-earthquake they are struggling, and after having finally adopted a constitution, India has blocked fuel for over three months, which means basic aspects of life (education, service, transportation) are limited, the economy is taking a nose dive, and there is talk of civil war. Eighteen months ago, I could not have pointed Nepal out on a map, and now my heart is full of compassion for those living in such complicated times. WOW. I have been changed, stretched, and challenged in so many ways by experiencing life in a place that I left nearly one year ago.
On her Edventure blog, Jenn was discussing supporting small, family, run resorts over large hotel chains as a way to support local economy. I was reminded of the wonderful place we stayed in near Khao Sak National Park in Thailand. The hospitality of the family we stayed with was beyond anything we experienced. Every morning, we would kick the kids out of the bungalow so we could have a few quiet moments to talk and plan the day, and the owner of the resort would entertain our kids: giving them food to feed the fish in the pond, letting them play with the dogs (our kids still talk about Coco and Cookie), and showing them around the resort. The last night of our stay, they invited us to join them for barbeque. “Um, sure, what can we bring?” “Nothing,” they replied, “you be our guests.”
We went out adventuring for the day and came back wondering what dinner would be like. While our kids were wowed by the full can of pop they each got, we were surprised by the mountains of food that kept coming. We feasted on coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves, steamed in bamboo cane, salt crusted fish slowly roasted on the barbecue, piles of pork and chicken barbecued to perfection. It was one of those moments of being so overwhelmed by the ridiculous generosity of someone else, all you can do is humbly say “thank you.” WOW. What a gift to encounter such generosity from a couple of strangers in a foreign land. These encounters are equally as life changing as living amongst the heartbreak of poverty.
These treasured moments and life changing experiences make me love travel. Being open to whatever comes your way is good for the soul, however stretching it may be. I will confess I am a little bit addicted. Currently I am sitting in a coffee shop, borrowing free wifi, listening to the chatter of conversations around me and fifties music on the overhead speaker, and realize I could be in “Any-land, Anywhere”, and it gives me a little thrill. WOW. (I am actually only 90 minutes from home, and right now that feels just right.)