I’ve been Earth-bound for the last few months. There’s been no travel at all for me for an unusually long time, and I’ve been starting to imagine that my memories of distant places are actually imagined experiences themselves. But the thinking part of my brain knows that the universe cycles through phases. These last few months have hardly been inert. Head and shoulders hunched over my computer, I’ve been at work laying foundations for new enterprises, new explorations, new creations.
I also watched as a little, approaching blip on my calendar started to pull my attention. Then, suddenly, the time arrived. In an accelerating blur my hard-box camera cases started to fill up, my hard drives got new identifiers and labels, my endless connecting cables got zip-tied and packed. I had a ticket to ride.
When the pilot intoned “Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff,” I couldn’t help but feel a little jolt, and it didn’t come from the turbofans kicking my plane down the runway. I was flung into the sky on a commerical airship, headed across the country, laptop charged, eyes clear. Heading out on a mission I had goals, but I didn’t know how it would turn out. I had plans, but I also had questions. I knew I would have problems to solve, and my tools for success were largely accumulated by past experiences.
But then, isn’t that the measure of a life? We are all accumulations of our past experiences. Our successes are as much about how much we allow ourselves to absorb and internalize our travels as they are about our ambitions.
If you travel at all, whether solely through the glowing portal of your various screens, the shiny streaks of your oil paints, or in the belly of an airplane with a backpack in the cargo compartment, you’re going to have bumpy rides from time to time. That’s the reality of travel through life. You’re not going anywhere if your road simply goes around the same old block again and again. You don’t have to court bad days; they’ll find you anyway. But you can make great, good efforts at good days, and those efforts count. Stack the deck: you can help insure that your journey will add to your overall experience in a way that matters.
Anyway, I’m back on the road. I’m writing this from an airport lounge, drinking coffee from a paper cup. I’m back on the road, and while I most certainly don’t want to live on the road—real and metaphoric, that can become a dangerous drug, if you’re not careful!—I’m excited to see what I’ll discover and what creative expressions those discoveries will inevitably prompt.