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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Having just read a review of Lynne Sharon Schwartz’ new memoir, “Not Now Voyager, I felt moved to write about my own experience with travel.
She sees travel as a way of diverting oneself…getting away from the inner complexities. I disagree. While travel, especially to places with languages other than my own, removed me from the exacting problems at home, it never diverted me from the various aspects of my self, in fact, it often brought me in touch with some that I wasn’t conscious of. Encounters with strangers, of which there were many, gave me a broader sense of who I am, and what I’ve not cultivated in myself.

Schwartz believes that only in the quiet of one’s familiar home can the self be fully experienced. I don’t think that encounters with stresses at home are enough different than the stresses in traveling, which call on the self to rise and deal. I remember on a trip to Europe with my first husband, when we were in Paris, he thought he was spitting blood. This was a year after he’d had a heart attack. We rushed to an emergency room…fortunately learned it was only his gums that were bleeding…but we were certainly inwardly challenged for a while. Life and the self go with you no matter where. I find it equally true that the peaceful, so-called “spiritual” inner self rides along on the outer journeys.

When Norm and I would go to our house at Lake Gregory, I felt more diverted from the hurly-burly than on any of our many journeys hither and thither.

I believe I’ll never forget an encounter with a woman in France, on our last trip to Europe…We needed directions, pulled up the car and stopped the woman. She immediately came over and acted as though we were doing HER a favor by asking. It pulled me into a part of myself 1) that gets annoyed at being “bothered” by strangers and 2) by the inner part that loves being of service. It isn’t only exposure to the culture and beauty of unfamiliar places that enhances us, but the personal encounters that bring us back “home.”

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