Skip to main content

Brutality


Travel is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and lose sight of the familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. – Cesare Pavese
This quote got me thinking. I had never really viewed travel quite in this way. And though I wouldn’t characterize it as a “brutality” per se, there is no question that it can be very uncomfortable – be it on an emotional level being away from loved ones or, on a physical level, because of what it can impose – early mornings, changes in diet, jet lag, living out of a backpack, and so much more.
My great Bolivian adventure is a perfect example. From the get-go, the challenges of what the next two weeks would bring were marked by the descent into La Paz airport which is over 13,000ft above sea level. Without the benefit of time to acclimatize, the altitude can really take its toll. Fortunately I was not ill, but I wasn’t moving at lightning speed for the first few days either.
The trip did not give me the luxury of lazy sleepy mornings, warm breezes and pina coladas. Quite the contrary.  Mornings were VERY early (especially for me), and as South America moved into winter I was conscious of (trying) to keep warm all the time. One night we even stayed in an unheated “lodge” in the middle of nowhere where the temperature dropped to -20c overnight. Huddled together as we ate supper before hunkering down for bed, we laughed nervously with reference to our cold, dark, isolated surroundings as the ideal setting for a horror movie.
And let's not speak of the food poisoning I got hours before departure…
While these are obvious signs of discomfort, immeasurable is what we learn about ourselves when in these circumstances. As Pavese explains, by disrupting our “known", travel can send us to a place of brutality.
So what have I learned about myself while there? I've learned that:
  • My patience is bottomless in situations I find of value or interest
  • I can find a solution calmly in the face of difficulty
  • I firmly believe that everything is going to be alright
  • Most people are often stronger than they think and;
  • With enough layers you can actually sweat yourself awake, even in -20c weather.
What have you learned in times of adversity?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

10 simple joys

Recently "Chewbacca Mom" reminded the world that life is about the "simple joys". Think about it - more of  life is about the everyday moments than the sexy milestones. Though I've written a lot here about gratitude, this got me reflecting yet again on the simple joys I am thankful for. This is my list right now, though in no way complete.
1. Snuggling under a cozy duvet 2. That first sip of freshly brewed coffee in the morning 3. Hugging my partner tightly 4. Smiling to strangers and getting smiles back 5. Taking in a beautiful skyline view 6. Mastering a new skill that was unknown to me 7. Being awakened by the chirping birds outside my window each morning 8. Watching a scary movie and jumping with fright (this is a guilty pleasure, I'll admit) 9. Grocery shopping with my partner (yes I know, weird but true - we are talking simple!) 10. Camping adventures (s'mores included ;))
What are your simple joys?

What a Twit: Part IV

I am an avid Tweeter and take to sharing my favourite tweets with my blog followers every three or four months. This year started off with a bang and I have more tweets than usual...lots of them funny, some inspirational, and others informative. Enjoy!

@TheLoveStories Never regret something that once made you smile.
@TravelBloggr Dear Twitter spell check, Pancetta is not "pancreas." Just thought you should know. Learn some foodie Italian please.

What a Twit!

Over the past three years that I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve “met” tons of interesting people around the world who are doing cool things, have interesting ideas, are funny and sometimes/often even have similar interests to mine.
Twitter allows you to “favourite” tweets, bookmarking them for easy future reference.  Since many of my closest friends aren’t on Twitter, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my favourites - favourites because they are insightful, funny, hopeful or all of the above. Hopefully they make you take pause, laugh, or reflect.
There is a Top 5 (in no particular order), then some of my other faces. Enjoy!