As I sat captivated by the “Bourne Ultimatum” this afternoon, I realized that there are many towns, cities and countries that I have not been to yet. The movie was fast-track action all the way through with never a moment when something significant wasn’t happening—snooze you lose.
As they pictured Heathrow Airport, Tangiers, Spain and other places of interest, I was struck by the fact that I would be perfectly happy to take a trip around the world and spend my remaining days wandering around in inbetween all the many cultures that exist in the world today. Can you get your head around Paella in Spain and Falafel in Turkey.
What would I have to become to have this dream morph into reality: a missionary, a diplomat, a US liason, or a rich person living out a life of luxury?
Now this sudden attraction may have something to do with the fact that I have just begun reading a new book entitled “Invisible Cities” by italo calvino a Cuban raised for most of his life in Italy. I learned about this book while reading another called “Einstein’s Dreams” which is probably the most unique book I have ever read. A reviewer quoted on the cover of that book likened it to calvino’s work and when I had an opportunity I purchased it.
Like many great authors, calvino creates a world where you can begin to believe all that he has to say really took place. “Invisible Cities” is the story of Marco Polo relating to the aged Kublai Khan the memories of the many cities that he has visited. calvino is a superb storyteller and like many books written by such talent, it takes a while to find the grove and begin to flow with what has been written—but once you do it is like hearing a great song for the very first time.
But I digress. As I watched the Bourne movie I was struck by the fact that 98% of the world is still unknown and unseen by me, myself and I—three people who would very much like to travel to the ends of the earth and taste the many different cuisines up close and personal like.
Yes, going to Africa was a dream that I had had within me for more years than I can remember—hitch hiking western Europe in the late sixties was an experience that has no modern day comparison. But just to think that all these places awake to the same sun in the sky that I wake to is almost more than I can bear. I can almost taste the wine making regions of France and feel the soil beneath my finger nails. The proud soviet cities and the mysterious sub-cutures in far east Asia. The aboriginal tribes of Austraila and the people of Latin America and siesta’s and so forth.
You can tell that I haven’t thought this whole thing out—there are many details missing. But the sense of adventure that I feel as I even let myself think these thoughts is just this side of intoxicating.
Reality is that it was payday last Friday and after all the bills are taken care of I will no doubt have enough cash to fit in a few lunches and maybe some extra vitamins and a trip to the chiropractor. With $3 dollar a gallon gas, two weddings and tires for the winter, Sandi and I had to give up going to New York this fall—but there is always spring in the city and next year will be our 30th anniversary—so if we start putting money into an envelope we might make it out of Boone next year. Here’s to hoping we all arrive at the next stop on our journey through life.
The thing about traveling the world is that you never get enough. Even when you’ve had enough, you haven’t. When I quit Samaritan’s Purse I had decided I was pretty much done with international travel. But since then I’ve gone on to work with them in Australia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and other places. And I realized that I really do like getting out of the country about once a year. Having the job that I do allows me these opportunities. I had never dreamed when I was kid that I would one day travel the world and see the things I’ve seen. I’m so thankful for that. But just like Dorothy, I come to realize there’s no place like home. I do feel a longing to get back to NC, especially in the autumn when there’s a crisp breeze in the air and the leaves are dancing with vibrant colors (and praise). When the warm apple cider thaws those early chills. The fall festivals and county fairs. The drives through the back country with no agenda other than being there. It’s very nearly paradise (at least my version anyway).
The mountains of North Carolina are indeed a special and alluring place—especially as you note in the fall. My bike rides through the back country have once again stirred in me the delight I felt when I first moved here. I guess something else I was feeling while writting that last post was the sense of being in your life and also being outside of it (an observer) at the same time. Living as a perpetual tourist and permanent resident within the same lifetime—lifeline.I have always had this impression that it is possible to find romance within the routine of life. That the simple act of preparing coffee in the morning can be more an event than a patterned response—served up everyday at the exact same time in the exact same way.In other words I want to crack open the atom of my life and let the electron free to rotate around a much expanded proton. Good luck with that, eh!