Monday, March 21, 2011

Slow Down and Smell the Cafe

This week, I took one of the first non-family-related vacations (to Spain) that I've taken in several years. Now, there's nothing wrong with family vacations. I happen to love them. However, there's something to be said for slowing down and disconnecting from your "real" life.

Let me amend that observation.

The fact is, there's no such thing as "unreal" life - it's all just life. Yet separating from the day-to-day routines can help us observe ourselves from the outside just a bit, help us situate ourselves in the world. We think about differences and similarities between ourselves and others, about how we were taught to see the world, about the way others see that same world.

The little traveler in Park Guell, Barcelona.

As we were ferried by taxi to the airport in the pre-dawn hours yesterday, the moon was a giant orange globe stamped just above the hills outside Barcelona. One of those incredible moons, where you can see the outlines of craters and lunar seas. Many hours later, I arrived in Texas just after dusk and wondered, for just a moment, whether the moon would look the same. But of course it wouldn't. Latitude and longitude, accidents of birth, words we hear since childhood -- all of these shape the way we think, the way our neurons connect.

It seems, however, that on a world as fragile as ours, it's a desperate need for each of us to try to understand the perspectives of others, wrought by the million little moments in their lives, the particular angle between their position on earth and the moon at any given moment.

Travel is just a little step in the direction of understanding. It's also illuminates how challenging that understanding can be. This week I'm going to share a few little musings from my travels. Feel free to throw a shoe at me for being pretentious. I'll just duck and take it.


Dara said...

I love everything about this post Catlin, and it's so not pretentious!

Catfish said...

Thanks, Dara!