Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
We got used to coming and going every day – to and from work, to and from store, to and from school, to and from lunches and dinners, parties and playgrounds, and so on. The distances we travel vary - from day to day, task to task, time to time, and person to person. Some of us commute on daily basis, other just live around the corner from school, work, or shop. We kiss our family good-bye when we leave in the morning (well, maybe not every morning – although we should...). We kiss or hug or shake hands with our friends when we part - from school or social events. We usually just politely say ‘bye’ or ‘see you’ when we leave from work or dentist or other places like that (meaning places which are not actually thrilling, but need to be visited so we can smoothly unroll happy life scenarios...).
We also got used to coming and going during week-ends, when we venture on longer distance that in other days. We usually choose to go to nice places, with fresh air and peaceful surrounding, where loving relatives or friends are waiting to see, hug and kiss us, and feed us until we can hardly move. We then get sad (sometime even shed one or two tears) when the week-end is over and we have to say our good-byes and return to our daily shorter travels, which put together will become the next week of our live.
Sometimes we venture even further and longer apart from our loved ones. We travel to distant cities and countries, continents and island, across valleys and mountains, rivers and oceans. We can get almost anywhere nowadays by car or train, ship or plane. We go there for business or pleasure, for days or weeks, sometimes even months or years.
The traveling has become so much part of our live, that we seem to have lost the ability to think about holiday without some kind of travelling - going away, exploring, experimenting, absorbing. We are hungry for places and tastes, smells and views, colors and shades, flowers and animals, people and habits, cultures and prejudices. We love to discover and share all that with others, upon our arrival back home.
All this is good provided that we do not forget to also explore, absorb and share our own roots, surroundings and environment, understand our daily life and adjust our expectations to it, in line with reality and not with fantasy. We should not compare idyllic holiday set-ups with normal living, mistake assumption for knowledge, believe that all the nice (and expensive) little treats that we enjoy on vacation could turn into daily living standard - if only we moved to that holiday destination for the rest of our lives. We should not forget that all those places feel so paradisiacal because we are going there free of daily constraints, enjoying our spare time.
We should know that white is noticed against black setting and happiness is felt as opposed to suffering, thrill as opposed to boredom and so on. We need to experiment all feelings and moods, mind and body states, before we learn to appreciate and choose our own ways. Adversity is the one that helps us grow, while reward is the one that motivates us to continue facing more adversity. No matter how blue the sea and how green the grass is around ourselves once daily routine kicks in, we will return to the same sense of duty, workload and deadline pressure, exhaustion and frustration, which we experienced prior to any holiday period. And this is why we should learn how to master all those adverse forces on a daily basis, instead of expecting the holiday to do that for us and magically take away all our problems.
Sometimes we do not travel but just GO, without any plan for the ‘coming back’ part. We leave behind people and places, pets and flowers, feelings and things. Some are very important to us and others not so much, sometimes upon departure we can mistake one category for the other, and only in time we get more clarity in such matters. Sometimes we run from something and hope for a lesser wrong, other times we run towards something and hope for a better future. And when we go, we find it very hard to say good bye. But still manage to do it in our special way, at least to those in the “very important category”.
And... there is one departure for which is really hard (if not impossible) for anyone to prepare. Some see it as an escape and others as a punishment; some see it as a debt and others as a reward; some see it as a mystery and others as a certainty; some fear it and others welcome it; some see it as an end and others as a beginning.
No matter how each of us sees it, this type of departure comes only once in our lifetime and we are usually never really ready to go. We are even less ready to accept it for our loved ones. It is extremely painful when we do not get a chance to say our good-byes properly; however we should find comfort in understanding that for the departed the fast and painless way to go without giving long notice is their best way of saying good-bye.
This week, for the first time since I took a long-term trip, I was away from my beloved ones in their time of grief. As I did not have the chance to go there, I decided to drop these lines and tell them that I look forward to my next come back, when our hugs, kisses and tears will mix together in the memory of the recently departed. In the meanwhile my dear G., know that your mother will always be your mother, without any time and space restrictions.
And for all the others that read this posting: do not forget to hug really tight your families - before going somewhere and also upon coming back, so that you never miss a day of proper saying good-bye.