There are a whole bunch of Lifestyle Design bloggers whose work I adore (hi guys!), whose reason for being part of the Lifestyle Design field is to give them the chance to travel the world and have big adventures. This is a wonderful thing. The world is big and amazing and just crying out to be explored. I’ve done some of that and will do more.
But travelling the world isn’t the only way to have the big adventures. Adventures of the heart can take you to more remote places than the highest mountaintop or most obscure village. Parents – I’m sure you know what I’m saying. Did you have any idea, when you set out on the journey to parenthood, just how much that little person was going to change you?
Partners in long-standing relationships experience this, too. You learn so much about change and growth and tolerance from living with and loving someone day after day. You learn what it’s like to be loved and forgiven. It’s so humbling to let someone see you at your worst moments and then to realize that you’re still their chosen dinner date.
The wild ride of living through a crisis together – the death of a parent, an illness or accident – has to be as big, as life-changing as any wilderness adventure.
We tend to discount these kinds of experiences and I’m not sure why. Is it because, if you live long enough, everybody probably goes through some of them? Do we equate the universal with the mundane? Or is it just because we don’t tend to send postcards about our days in the ICU with Mom?
One of the biggest adventures that Alan and I have had so far was the year we sold our business and a lot of our possessions and moved back home to look after my mother. It was a sabbatical, but instead of travelling across the world, we traveled in the Land of Old. And I learned so many things that I couldn’t have discovered any other way. It was funny and heartbreaking. It gave me the chance to really know my mother, and better understand my dad, even after his death. I learned things about myself, my ability to absorb the sadness of others, my ability to learn patience. I had a close-up view of old age and the end of life. They hold no terrors for me now. I have hopes for that stage of my life, but really, no fears.
I’m so grateful that we had the chance to do that, that we took the chance to do that. And yes, I will get out there to see the wider world again, but what I learned from that sabbatical I carry with me. And I now find travels in my own backyard to be so amazing, so thrilling, that I am content here, now.
The point of travel, I think, is to open your eyes, to allow you to see the world a whole new way. If you have other experiences that let you do that, count yourself lucky.
And feel free to send me a postcard.