Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Destinations

I’ve always loved the expectation of a new destination, that marvelous electrical pulse of excitement as you ride in the bus, plane or car towards a place you have long imagined. I got it as a child heading off with my parents on a road trip from Guatemala to Los Angeles. I had it over and over again in my years of traveling. I can physically recall the amazement of actually arriving in the flesh and bones, concrete and stones versions of cities I had read and dreamed about for years, like Damascus, Istanbul and Jerusalem. I still get it now – last week as I flew down to Farah for work I felt that excitement of the new, of going somewhere that I had never been before. But when I think over my many journeys it is often in the moments in between destinations that I had the experiences that changed me most. In those moments I learned secrets about myself that gave me the courage to pursue the dream I am living now. It was in the six hour wait at a border crossing that I discovered that I could find things to laugh about when others around me were overcome with frustration and impatience. It was in a day trip gone horribly wrong in the Jordanian desert that I learned that I could remain calm and rational in situations of danger and rising panic. The boundary between journey and destination quickly became blurred – even once I had arrived in a wonderful place like Jerusalem it would often be in the little journeys, in the moment-to-moment experiences as I made my way through that magical city that I would find my strongest impressions of the place, and of myself. But this prompt set me thinking about the one dimension of “destinations” and the journey towards them that I do struggle to remember – that coming back to what looks like the same place as you make you way through life may be an opportunity to take a different approach to the familiar challenges, even find a whole new path to follow. “But I’ve been here before!” she complained. “Months, maybe even years ago. I should have covered so much ground since then.” “How can I have ended up back here? Did I take a wrong turn, double back on myself, slide backwards down the hill?” “I know this place, I’ve climbed once already over that wall, fallen into that hole on the other side, and clambered my way back out.” “I’ve already swum once, struggling, across that raging river.” “That time, though, I at least had the advantage of being younger, fitter, more ready for the challenge. Last time I arrived here I hurled myself over the first hurdle without even stopping for a breath.” “So here I am, back again, having walked in some kind of circle, not making progress at all. Worse still, I’m older this time, not so boisterous and energetic and I swear I can’t face that wall quite yet.” “I’ll have to sit here for a moment, gather my strength, gather my wits, before I can think about clambering through those familiar old obstacles.” - Deep sigh – “It is lovely and quiet here under this tree. I guess there is no rush,” she says “no reason I can’t enjoy this for just a few more moments.” - More deep sighs and satisfied sounds – “Strange, I never noticed before that there was another path here under this tree… “
More interpretations of "destination" at Sunday Scribblings

9 comments:

Crafty green Poet said...

Lovely post and very true. I think there are always opportunities to see the familiar from a new angle.

Sunday Scribblings said...

Hi there! You've been to such amazing places! I love the names in atlases and recently made a list as part of some research. For the sound of the names alone: Rajbiraj, Itanagar, Palimbang, Sabsevar. . . they sound like spice. And I love your conversation with yourself -- I'm feeling that right now, revisiting some old goals that have to be "re-achieved" and I like your attitude about it! By the way, I'm so glad to see you have a blog! I really wanted to email you back and I kept having this problem with my email where my inbox kept vanishing and I was losing all my messages! I'd love to give your friend some Laini's Ladies to bring you in New Zealand! If you email me her address I'll send some. I'm looking forward to scrolling down and reading more of your experience in Afghanistan. Cheers!

Laini said...

(Oops! That was me.)

Lacithecat said...

I have just sat here and thought about this week's Sunday Scribbles. I can't do it, especially not with your poetic justice. Too often I forget the desinations. I am slow on the uptake. The process, journey and path - with its pain and happiness - is where my heart lies. A designation somehow denotes an 'end' and I cannot bare it. Sigh ... I am rambling.

paris parfait said...

You and I have traveled to many of the same places - always an adventure. Your post is lovely - I like the idea of there being more than one way to get wherever you're headed. Ultimately, it's all about the journey, rather than the destination.

Chris said...

I really enjoyed this. I can definitely relate with the narrative - the building frustration and release at finding a new, undiscovered solution to a perceived problem.
I'm also humbled by the courage and intestinal fortitude required to follow your dreams and strike out to make a tangible difference in the world.
Thank you for your post!

Susannah said...

beautiful thoughtful inspiring words... thank you... happy new you to you angel :-) xo

Regina Clare Jane said...

This was lovely to read- the depth of it, the new twist on what can be familiar and even challenging at the same time.
Have a wonderful new year and many more wonderful destinations...

susanna said...

This post resonated with me, especially as you describe "that coming back to what looks like the same place...". I moved every three or four years during my childhood and even now I am living abroad. When I was a kid and teenager, I loved moving. It was the excitement of a whole new world. This last move as an adult really required me to change my perspective, to move forward instead of reminiscing the Past. When I finally did that, I could see so many new opportunities that I might never have seen otherwise.