Updated on September 5, 2016
Updated on September 5, 2016
In honor of Robin Williams, this quote from the Dead Poet’s Society has been making me think…
“But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
This quote scares me a little bit. It’s frightening to think in terms of “contribution” when I think about life, even if the contribution being referenced here is an expression or perspective rather than an actual “work” or “deed”. I guess it’s just overwhelming to imagine that anyone is watching or caring what anyone else does or “contributes.” That this life or “play” is a group activity…
Because life is a group activity where we’re all sharing in the experience- in the causes and effects of this or that, people do care. And at least in my circles, there are people who have told me they don’t like what we do. They don’t like this miles & points hobby. Then, of course, there are others who say they think it’s great. Everyone’s got an opinion and I am one of those unfortunate folks who can’t help but care what that opinion is- something I need to work on. As though it’s not enough for me to contribute a verse I’m happy with; I want to make sure everyone else likes my verse too. Heaven forbid it should be misunderstood as a sad, unsettling, or controversial verse, right? …No.
What a backwards way of thinking. Because the great play that is this life IS made up of all of those verses, or it wouldn’t be much of a thing worth seeing. It wouldn’t be an experience.
A conclusion I come to so often is that travel is like life. (Duh.) Just as life is full of the good and the bad and the ugly, so is travel. On the one hand you have a blue-watered paradise in the islands of Greece. And it’s worth seeing. On the other hand, you have a dirty, noisy street in India. And that’s worth seeing too.
This is a very different post, I realize. But the reality is I could’ve either posted it on my secret blog that only a few friends know about, or I could have posted it on this one. And I chose this one.
Because …mostly I’m curious…what kind of feedback do you all get from your friends, families, and communities about the travel you do or the way you travel? Do you get suspicious looks or disapproving comments as I’ve sometimes gotten? If so, how do you respond? Or…have you gotten enthusiasm? And how do you respond to that?
And what have the good, bad, and ugly experiences in your travel been? What is your tallest peak and what is your deepest valley?
In some ways, my “verse” is curiosity for the ways people tick. I am genuinely curious about this shared human experience and the different ways we go about it. So I would love it if you shared your thoughts: What are your beautiful moments in travel and your not-so-beautiful ones? And how do people react to your “verse”? Or rather…how do you respond to people who don’t understand your “verse”?