Monday, November 3, 2008

Stepping out of context

I love traveling though I don't do so all that often. I'm not talking about work trips, where you go someplace and only see the inside of a conference facility or an office building. I'm talking about the kind of trip where you go somewhere and are reminded that the world is so big, that you are so small and that there is very little difference between you and the next person.

None of these observations are original, of course, but I am reminded of this quite forcefully after the last few days. I've been traveling a lot lately, all for work. I've seen more hotels and conference centers and tourist meccas in the last eight weeks than I would have expected. These were by-and-large good trips, fruitful and interesting. I met a lot of good people and was reminded that there is at least a variety of geography on this planet, but none of these trips gave me the opportunity to explore, to step out of my rushed working self. None of these trips were anything other than my usual self in a slightly different physical context.

Last week I actually took a vacation, a trip to Vancouver, BC. It was a really good visit, lots of mini-adventures, but the best part was this: It did what a vacation was supposed to do. By stepping out of the context of my own life (the everyday stresses, the regular routines, etc etc) I was able to get some distance and clarity on where and who I am right now. I felt as though I was coming home to myself for all that I was thousands of miles from my physical home.

It's hard to do that in my everyday context; it's too easy to be distracted by the mundane concerns. I needed to be far away, where I had to figure out new buses and money and slang, to remember who I am, to remember that the baggage I carry isn't necessarily all that weighty, to remember that I am not merely my everyday routine. I would like to think I could do this at home, but I'm not sure, I think I needed to go away to remember.

It was a good trip. And I'm glad to be home, having left some of my baggage far away.

(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer
Creative Commons License

No comments:

Post a Comment

True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails