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The FUSE Woman-- "Where Form & Spirit Become One"
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TRAVEL IS BROADENING?
"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. Wealth I ask not, hope nor love, nor a friend to know me, ... all I ask, the heaven above and the open road below me." (Robert Louis Stevenson, Songs of Travel, The Vagabond).
There are as many reasons for journeys as there are destinations. Business, pleasure, visiting relatives or getting away from relatives, learning new things, or forgetting old things — all of us need a road trip from time to time. The common thread in every journey is the sense of adventure. Whether you're flying on the Concord or bouncing around on a Greyhound Bus, the changing scenery brings excitement and anticipation.
Traveling is often a challenging exercise — new faces, new places, new languages, new currencies, new customs, new decisions. Do we take the fastest way, or the scenic route? Do we experiment with unfamiliar foods and atmospheres or play it safe with what others recommend? Each decision becomes a teachable moment, not only in geography, but in who we are, and how we react to things.
I recall a day trip my ex-girlfriend and I were planning from New Delhi to Agra, the site of the Taj Mahal. We were planning on taking the train when the cab driver, who had guided us around New Delhi, suggested he drive us to Agra. When I asked him what we would see, he replied, “You will see many interesting things, cows and sheep and goats!" We took the train, but I still remember how he tried to promote the adventure.
has faith in how things will turn out, showed up for an afternoon meal in a quiet area. Being lost can be scary, overwhelming, or stressful. Or, it can open us up to an opportunity we might have otherwise blown right by and never noticed.
That afternoon, I reveled in the chance encounter of the wonderful Hungarian people at the eatery, the shelter from the rain (it was summer after all!) and the opportunity to slow down, to notice the life that was happening right around me without overlooking it for some trivial preoccupation.
And this is the me I most want to be, all the time. The one who is wide-eyed with wonder and curiosity, who is willing to try new and uncertain things, who has faith that it all works out, and the consciousness to live those moments and opportunities that are almost too rare to spot among the daily bustle. Because this one life is the only one we get. Let travel be a part of it to expand your world and bring out the best part of you, too.
There is a dichotomous reality that presents itself every time I travel. In a moment, I feel both lost among the ebb and flow of life in a far-off, unfamiliar place that surrounds me, and I feel like I have finally found myself.
Travel for me has always been an opportunity to see a new place, to try new foods, to hear the lilt of an unfamiliar language, to observe, to watch, to try, to experience, and to explore. Like a small child in the middle of a huge new playground, everything is novel, exciting, and enticing. Years ago, on a trip with a friend where we both celebrated our 30th birthdays, we found ourselves wandering in Budapest. Now THAT is a great
city. The two sides to the city – Buda and Pest – are very different, and so unique and distinct.
One afternoon, we wandered around the Buda side – where there are castles and monuments, up on a hill that looks over neighborhoods on the backside. We simply walked and strolled until we no longer knew where we were. Just a few steps later, we happened upon a rather modern and warm little nook that served food and wine, with an outdoor area that offered cover from the rain that had just spontaneously started.
After ducking in, laughing at being caught in the rain in an area we didn’t know, we sat down and joyfully engaged with our waitress, who was just delighted we would come so far to visit her city. We asked them to order food for us that they recommend, treated ourselves to a glass of wine, and waited for what culinary treasure was on its way.
In those same moments of travel where I find myself lost in the new atmosphere, it is there that I truly find myself. I get back to the self that is always present somewhere within me, but gets lost in the daily grind of laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, returning phone calls. The me that yearns to pop up, as if out of a giant cake, and say HERE I AM! I’M STILL HERE!
At that hidden nook in Budapest, my calm, adventurous self, that