Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What lies in the human heart? A yearning for knowledge, a lust for adventure and... taco seasoning

Hello again, gentle reader. Today I write about a subject that is near and dear to me: travel and adventure. I have what some might call "wanderlust", or in German "ze vanderlusht, mein herr." Nothing thrills me more than to see a new place or have a new experience. Even trying a new restaurant affords me a tingle in my spine and loss of feeling in my legs.

I'm not sure what it is about exploration that is so exciting to me. It's probable that it stems from my my belief that life is made to be experienced, although a healthy exchange rate doesn't hurt either. Every new experience opens your eyes to a new way of thinking, a new possibility. And even if you don't enjoy yourself, there's always something positive you can extract from any situation. For example,

"Yes, our plane crashed in the jungle and we were the only survivors, but at least the in-flight movie wasn't Battlefield Earth."

"I know you had your heart set on not being ritually sacrificed by these natives, but think of it this way: We'll get a good look at their village before we're eviscerated on the stone altar."

For some reason, other people don't share my enthusiasm for adventure. They'd prefer to "stay at home where it's safe and your eyes won't be devoured by the blood flies of Kalazoloo" and "eat safely prepared food that is devoid of disease and pestilence." I just don't get it.

The reality is that every new experience doesn't have to be that much of an adventure. I remember the road down to the coast of California north of San Francisco, with tiny villages of a few houses poised in ancient and verdant forests alongside the cold and forbidding water of the ocean. I remember the cool desert wind in my hair as my wife and I drove at sundown towards Nevada, the stars and moon above us gleaming unbidden and unleashed without any other light to dim them. I remember the snow covered bowl of Tahoe overlooking that icy lake, and the same view in summer, with the scent of pine always in the air. And I remember my wife in all of those places, her smiles and laughter caught for perpetuity in my mind.

That's the reason I enjoy experiencing new things; for the memories that I'll always have (unless I get Tunisian brain rot while I'm out, which would be ironic). So much of our lives is spent doing the mundane and rote actions of life- working, sleeping, watching TV- that going somewhere or doing something out of the ordinary is a special thing. Kind of like lime sherbet day in elementary school for St. Patrick's Day (because it was green; not, I assume, because of any citrus-related link).

The world we live in doesn't have ads in the paper for "explorers". I've checked, just to be sure. We can't "Go West", because it's already been gone to. There is no New World for us to discover (perhaps in space, but I hear tickets are very expensive, and I'm sure the bathroom situation is pretty sketchy with no gravity). What we can do is discover our own New Worlds.

There is always another road to travel, and though there may be potholes along the way, the trip is worth it.


At 3:28 PM, Blogger Burnt Karma said...

Food...the final frontier!

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many unexplored frontiers along the mental/emotional continuum, especially those that can only be reached through pharmacology.

That is a closed door, though, for reasons I am lately understanding better - but suffice, there *is* another path and pastime along those lines.

At 4:02 AM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Travel and new horizons seems so ephemeral while we experience them. It’s the memories that linger afterwards that make each trip worthwhile. The mind is such a wonderful place!

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Mahd said...

Burnt Karma, food is wonderful, and definitely one of the things that makes life worth living. Key lime pie, for example. Oh man.

Anonymous, As someone who has seen the damage that drugs can do to users, I'm more inclined to hike a trail. A bruised knee heals better than a bruised brain.

ChickyBabe, What are we without memory? Are we even human? I would suggest that without rememberance, we are just killer robots with strong fleshy claws.


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