It has been just over a week since a bomb exploded at the Erawan Shrine in downtown Bangkok, which killed 20 people and wounded many others. The following day another bomb was thrown at a busy river pier, but thankfully fell into the canal causing no injuries and little harm. I deeply respect the Thai official’s honest acknowledgement about what is and is not known, together with their consistent, calm pursuit of the truth, a steady search for the culprit, the loving re-dedication of the Shrine, and compassionate honoring of those lost and injured (instead of sensationalizing the event.)
Most times when I have traveled I seem to have experienced a taste of contemporary life . . . from landing in Heathrow in 2001 only to discover that Mad-Cow disease was infecting UK livestock; to being caught in a typhoon in Manila in 2002; to traveling to Toronto during the SARS epidemic in the summer of 2003 when a couple of days after we landed, the city was hit by the three-day long Northeast power outage, which stretched from Ontario, through New York and down to Ohio. Oh, yes, and there was the time I happened to have a board meeting in Mexico during the Swine Flu epidemic in 2009.
These serendipitous events do not include my volunteer work as a trauma recovery trainer—traveling in 2005 and 2006 to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami; nor does it include joining journalist Susan McClelland on a research trip to post civil war Sierra Leon in 2008; or work in Haiti 2010 and 2011 after the earthquake.
During my early 20’s I realized that taking a vacation to visit family did not mean I could ‘vacate’. What I discovered then is that it is more important to stay present and ‘witness’ what is happening around you, and within you. Witnessing includes keeping your wits about you—staying aware and as conscious as possible. Then, taking a holiday may become a series of ‘holy-days’ which are made even more sacred by seeking and appreciating the gifts and learning that Life brings forward each day—no matter where we find ourselves.
Tell me, do you take Holidays or Holy-days — do you go on Vacations to Vacate or return to a state of Presence?
I wish us all Safe Travels
I love this post!
I travel as often as I can. Sometimes solo, just to absorb life retreating into the mountains or nature and further away from the crowds. This time is usually filled with inner reflection and connection with nature, life, and the goodness in people and myself.
Other times I travel with friends to share experiences of living life away from the burden of making a living. It’s a time purely about sharing connections with other (a reset on perspective)
I don’t take vacations so much as I travel, I see vacations more as an escape of life, while travelling is an exploration of life. Traveling does offer the escape of normal patterns of living, pursuing, consuming and obsessing in our society, it’s a way for me to break the mental trenches of routine, to reconnect with the essence of life and living it which turns into a spiritual holy-day for me.
Traveling vs Vacationing is a way for me to reconnect and reset my perception and awareness of what’s important in life so that I can incorporate it more into my daily “routine.” Reconnecting to the beauty of life, even when challenges are present helps me remember how much we are the same, the same hopes, fears, emotions and the goodness that is us.
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