Montaigne said about traveling…

“…the mind is constantly stimulated by observing new and unknown things. No propositions astonish me; no belief offends me, however much opposed to my own.” Frank Zolfo said, “it’s about living in a bigger box.”

Traveling! How many of my initial judgments and biases about issues or other travelers were revealed to be wrong, or only one side of the coin, one slice of the pie. There was always another piece to understand, and a traveler to gobble it up with. As my hair grew long and body hard, travelers helped bring out the mellow hippie inside. The strong control I expressed in my prior life had been reduced to limited control, such as where to sleep, food and water, and a place to relieve myself. I lived in nature responsible for just my backpack and its contents. I was a kid again; experiencing a world of newness. The only thing I knew for sure was that every place I went I would see something I never saw before, and I would meet someone.

With travelers I didn’t experience conflict. There is a pure intimacy between people going someplace for many of the same reasons. You know nothing about each other, except what is communicated, and what is communicated is often deeply intimate. There’s all the time in the world to explore intricate issues for which you have a common level of understanding that comes with being physically and mentally present.

When you have a year to travel there is time to absorb life and understand how it developed and why, to consider change, and learn how change is accomplished. It took until the tundra in Russia to embrace the traveler personality, and let go of control. It’s not that I disliked who I was before, or that I didn’t enjoy my two grown daughters, my wife, family and friends back home; rather the freedom of having little control was so intoxicating. To flow with the winds of fate; now that is a truly risky proposition.

Six months to travel the rest of the world, I thought, six months and I would achieve the vision I carried through life, a vision of a great family and enough money so no one could pull my strings, a vision only now coming into focus. I had broken the old humpty-dumpty, put myself back together again, and wondered if the changes would stick; wondered if I had what it takes to strike some reasonable balance between three seemingly conflict prone desires – family, money, and no strings? And how would Malgosia fit in when I returned? How would someone a world away fit in? How would I fit in?

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