Globetrekking as Self-Improvement

I am a homebody.  I love to be home.  My happiest days are spent in my own house and garden. The space I have created gives me great joy.

And I always have a plan to leave it behind.

I want to spend a month of each year in Mexico.  Before I die I want to experience at least two months in New York City.  I want to live for a month in San Gimignano, Paris, Southern Italy, Folegandros, Aix-en-Provence, even Portland, Oregon.

I love dipping into different cultures.  When I wake in the morning to new sounds, I am invigorated.  I walk village streets with a smile.  The cacophony of  unfamiliar languages is musical to me.  My curiosity carries me through my days and I am apt to follow an older woman carrying her shopping bag through an open market.  I sit at a sidewalk café for hours listening to strangers, hoping to understand enough to know something of their life.  I join a man and woman sitting on a bench in the square and try to strike up a conversation.

Vagabond trips don’t interest me as much now.  I want to be a part of life when I visit.  My stay must be long enough to get to know the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.  A thrill rushes through me when the woman at the local market smiles, says “Good Morning” and expects me to understand as she explains the cheeses.

People seem to live so differently in other places.  Life is more simple.  There is time for walking to destinations, meeting friends on the corner and stopping to exchange prolonged greetings.  Eating is leisurely,  with time for chatting and sipping dessert coffee at tables surrounded by other relaxed diners.  There is a rhythm to hanging out wash on the line and sweeping the front porch as the neighbors are sweeping theirs.

My friend says that no matter what we do, we take our personality with us.  Another way of saying “No matter where you go, there you are.”  If it’s true, then I think my personality is better when I travel.  I take my personality with me but I don’t take my bad habits.  I don’t take my “to-do” list and I don’t take my worries.  I am not rushed, harried or impatient.  I am “there” in the best sense.  I am present.

Scary if I have to leave my wonderful life here in order to be my best self.  I need to work on that!


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