Friday, May 31, 2013

Traveling Along the Windmills of My Mind

If I could go anywhere, where would it be?

The question for me would not necessarily be WHERE. True, there are places I yearn to visit, but those take a second place to the HOW.
I have always loved traveling around with my husband in an open, unplanned way—more like jumping in the car (camper, plane) and let’s see what happens. Although it is harder to do this for all places or when  traveling far from home, we always try to leave enough open spaces in any plans for the ‘magic’ to happen; the unexpected, the chance encounters, the surprises.
I like trusting the universe to bring what is needed, that the best will come—or at the very least, what I need to learn. Sometimes I get back what I need in unpleasant ways, showing me the state my head is in—it being a reflection of where I am at the moment—a wake-up call. So if you don’t like surprises, it is probably not for you. If you are not sure where your ‘head is at,’ it may not be something you want to try.
It is definitely an intuitive way to travel. You are trusting to be led by your intuition and if you haven’t honed your intuition, it may not be something to suddenly try. It is how I traveled when I found the inspiration for my novel, Dance the Dream Awake.
I imagine that some street people who choose to live on the street are in that state of mind a lot and it may be the reason they don’t want the responsibility of a house, car, job; responsibilities that modern society brings with it. The experience of living in the present is a ‘high.’ Or, it can be a smack up-side-the head if you are out of balance in your life.
When it works in positive ways, it is exhilarating. You meet people who open you to something new. That could be a fresh perspective, information to help you further your journey, a gift from the universe, a unique place to visit you would not have found on your own, etc.
Backpacking is also like this, but I have always been a car person. I love my car (not the vehicle, but the mode of travel) although campers can be wonderful as well. The whole camper community is a lovely way to be as well as to travel.
To travel in this open way, you do not go from Point A to Point B to Point C. Instead you wander from Point A to stops along the way that may lead you down side roads, detours or unexpected sightseeing stops you had not planned, meeting people you might not have imagined, and then on to Point B or maybe skip B to detour through another series of place to Point C. And so on.
We traveled around the country in a converted school bus in the 60’s, following a caravan of busses around the country to listen to a ‘new age’ guru who spoke at major universities around the country. I gained more wisdom in those months than I could have learned my whole life. Everything was accelerated. It was not all good experiences, but the bad experiences taught me things I needed to learn very quickly—through reverse learning, i.e., I learned what I did not want for the rest of my life. But the good experiences were priceless. I saw the beauty in people; the giving, selflessness that exists everywhere in this country. From the coasts, to the heartland of America, to the ghettos of Washington, D.C. there are good, loving people who are willing to give you the shirt off their back to help you from the little that they themselves may have.
There was:
The Hawaiian singer on Kauai that touched our hearts and we touched hers—that when we left she cried. The same with a Tahitian dancer we met on a different trip.
The young couple in Oklahoma that took us into their home to share an evening with friends in conversation that was exhilarating, loving and unforgettable. 
The old guide at the ruins of Coba that the other guides looked down upon for his poverty and lack of book-learned information, but from which we gleaned information that was handed down by word of mouth, showing us different leaves used for teas and herbal remedies, who my husband gave his shirt to because he sensed the man needed it (a sturdy shirt for a working man in the heat of Mexico’s interior) but did so on the QT because my husband sensed the other guides would criticize him if they knew, but whose gratitude was evident. It is not always about what we can receive but about what we can give and share.
So, yes, there are places I would love to see, but if I never get to them I can still travel by car and gain the more important gift of travel—meeting new people that add value to life, and learn things I might not have otherwise learned.

Have you ever traveled like that?

Visit these fellow writers who are also writing about: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Kim Moser Griffin
Siri Paulsen
Ellen Gregory
Liv Rancourt
Janice Hall Heck
Nikki McCormack






24 comments:

john M. Daniel said...

Cora, I share your philosophy of travel. My fondest memories of travel have to do with being distracted and led off the path I had chosen. Driving through the west and going out of my way to accommodate a hitchhiker. HItching through Nevada on a snowy spring night, and finally getting a ride to Yuma in a patrol car. Going into the railroad terminal in Rome, standing in line, and then when I reached the counter, buying a ticket to a destination that had just grabbed my attention. But those days are over for me, because I think satisfying wanderlust is easier for the young.

Liv said...

When you're done writing fiction, Cora, you should write a memoir. That bus trip sounds amazing!

Pamela Mason said...

I am not a wanderer, and neither is my husband, but I enjoy reading your experiences and travels. I don't need to plan every item down to the nth degree on a vacation agenda either, but I like to have a plan and be prepared. I've always wanted a silver streamer for that reason - like a turtle, I want my home on my back.
I do like to allow for surprises and blessings, but usually I see them after the fact. When my mother died and I hopped a plane to go to her city and plan her funeral, I was fortunate to have an empty seat beside me (on a packed plane), a nun to my left (my previous week's experiences in the hospital helped give her some things to expect), and extra face time with my dad and sister (a small reunion before the bigger one).
I remember thinking as I followed that nun onto the plane (Sisters of Mercy order) how light she traveled. All she had was a sweater and deep pockets for her ticket and rosary. Maybe there was a change of underwear in there! *smile*

C.L. Swinney said...

Traveling is awesome when you share it with people, especially with loved ones. This was a great blog.

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

Lots of great family times occurred with just the kids and us deep in the woods with no one else around. I love the in-touchness of primitive camping.

Cora said...

Oh, the stories those travels yield. Good times.

Cora said...

My daughter wants a memoir but I put my experiences in fiction--no pressure that way. Maybe someday I will figure out a way to write it. The bus was just one of many incidents that could fill a memoir.

Cora said...

Traveling light like the nun would be difficult. But maybe I could be like Jack Reacher (Lee Childs character) and just throw dirty clothes away and buy new/used at a second hand store. Ha Ha

Cora said...

I know, right. I always resist camping in the rough, but always enjoy it when I'm doing it. There is something very freeing about the grubbiness, and the quiet of the woods.

Lesley Diehl said...

The only thing I require now that I'm older is knowledge of where my bed will be. Other than that I like wandering also. We found the best wine in Tuscany by taking a rutted dirt road up to a vineyard. This fall we'll be going to Nova Scotia. We have booked our lodging, but that's all the planning we'll be doing. You just never can tell what you'll find. I guess I travel like I write--by the seat of my pants.

Patricia Gligor said...

Cora,
I call those rambling trips by car "road trips" and I love to travel that way. Just pack a few things, get in the car and pick a direction. So much fun! Sometimes our possessions and our plans weigh us down.

Ellen Gregory said...

I'd love to travel like this, but one does need to have a lot of time on hand. I think the modern era, with all our work and life expectations, tends to force us to cram travelling into smaller and smaller time windows. The closest I ever came to travelling like this was my original backpacking trip, which I've just started blogging about...

Cora said...

Exactly what I was thinking when I wrote this post, I travel like I write-pantser and let the intuition lead me.

Cora said...

You are so right about possessions weighing us down. I need my books, my computer, my notebooks. . . .

Cora said...

I think what you are doing on your blog is great. It got me thinking how I could use all my old notebook/diaries.

Tami Clayton said...

I've never traveled that way but would love to someday. I've always wanted to have a little camper to tow behind my car. I like the idea of taking my housing along with me like and stopping wherever it seems interesting to do so. It sounds like you've had some great adventures on your travels.

Kim Griffin said...

Your travels sound amazing, Cora! It sounds like you met lots of wonderful people and experienced something incredible.

Wow!

jrlindermuth said...

Yes. Exactly the right way to travel. No fixed itinerary, no plans writ in stone. The surprises can be pleasant (or not), but you can't buy experience. Wonderful fodder for stories. And perfectly in line with Thoreau's philosophy of sauntering.

Suzanne Stengl said...

Amazing travels, Cora!
I did something a little bit like that when I was 24 and backpacking around Europe. I had no itinerary and ended up in Africa. There were some tough times, but like you said, you learn from those. Almost more than from the good times!
I'm hoping in the next few years to get a Class B motor home and trek across Canada and the States. With all this talk of travel today, I'm thinking about it more and more!

elizabethfais said...

The true purpose of traveling isn't to *get* somewhere but to explore the the experience of the journey, as you and your husband do. I'm with Liv, I would love to read one of your memoirs. ;-)

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