A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Butterfly Effect

There are so many good metaphors about butterflies. They seem to lead ultra-charmed lives. So uniquely fashioned. Flitting from here to there, they always capture your attention with a little girl gaze that makes you run chasing after this beautiful creature regardless of your age.

And just like that magic, I have to wonder what brought me to this place. What was the small, imperceptible change that has given me the strength and courage to abandon a perfectly good career and life for adventure on the road? I mean, yes, I’ve been thinking about this for years. Weighing pros and cons. It hasn’t been a mere whim. But what was the tipping point that made this dream start to formalize as a plan?

Did it start 10 years ago on my first taste of backpacking on break from college one summer? As I floated weightlessly in the warm ocean off the coast of Antibes. I looked up and couldn’t tell the difference between ocean and sky, between me and anything else. It was the first and only (and hopefully not last) feeling of utter bliss I ever felt. It was like god, with a little g. It was what all those books on buddhism were talking about one-ness. It was the present moment. So pure and real, was it just that moment that I’ve yearned for ever since?

Or maybe it was the mid-30’s crisis coming on. Is this all I’m supposed to do with my life? I kindof fell into it, and now this is it? I have all my days and meetings and deadlines scheduled and repeating in Lotus Notes for the next 30 years. And the house I can’t afford in the city is an hour commute away, and now I can’t walk to work I need to buy a fuel efficient car, and then I need the husband to go with the house and the car, and I’m getting older by the minute better start thinking about babies and before you know it it’s over. WAIT!! Where did my life just go?! It became a series of hallmark cards, Macy’s parades and half burnt apple pies while I toiled at my desk to make enough money to look like I belong sitting behind my desk.

I think this taking stock has led me to look at who I am and my trajectory and the realization that you only get one turn on this crazy little planet so better use it wisely. And fast. I don’t think I’ll look back on my life and say, “Geez, I really wish I had been a Senior Vice President” but I think if I don’t take a chance and go after this I’ll regret that I could have taken an amazing trip around the world while I was young and wild enough to enjoy it.

"Now I do not know whether I was then a girl dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a girl."

Either way I'm shedding my caterpillar skin and taking flight out in the big, bright world. No more god-awful-couldn't-have-picked-the-worst-sound-in-the-world-to-wakeup-to alarm clocks. No more malls and overstuffed shopping bags and understuffed souls. No more ugly fluorescent lights slowly homogenizing my life. No more for me. I've had all I can eat Mom, can I go out and play now?

(I just hope I don't unwittingly make a good lunch for some hungry praying mantis.)

Wish me luck. Flit flit flit....


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