Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Zen Traveler?

I wish I traveled in a zen way! Zen, a Japanese word from the Chinese chan, from the Pali jhanam from the Sanskrit dhyanam and ultimately the root dhya-. To see or observe, to meditate. Meditative travel? Certainly travel in an unconventional way – contemplative, sensitive to the local surroundings (not everyone was born as fortunate as we were), few expectations, no hurry, live in the moment, and enjoy every one of them. Stop and see the scene around you, see it as it is instead of how you imagined it would be or want it to be. Sit long enough so that you have some chance of capturing the essence of the place – read a book, talk to strangers, take a nap, do nothing… just don’t be in a hurry to get to the next part of your adventure. Stop taking photos. I have to admit that I don’t go to museums or famous places much – I can imagine what they look like, and I am usually right it seems. What I can’t anticipate is ordinary life – the subtle ways that people all over the world are different. People interacting – with each other, their children and pets, their environment… that’s the fascinating part. ALL my best moments have come from NOT traveling – stopping to see what happened.

Work is still keeping me from writing, but hopefully things are on the path to a more balanced life. Last weekend we escaped to Marin for an Asleep at the Wheel concert - I have been following them, and Texas music, for 20 years it seems and they (or at least Ray) still sound exactly the same. And I seem to know every word. Nothing could be finer than an outdoor concert in California - perfect weather, beautiful scenery, and the cocktails at this tiny venue weren't bad either. And the classic California crowd - passionate, eclectic, eccentric, inspired, and just plain funky.

It was a good day for memorable quotes:
"Rely on the sudden erection of your small dorsal hairs" - Vladimir Nabokov
"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates
"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

Photos: Sherpa family, Everest region of Nepal; Asleep at the Wheel, Rancho Nicasio, Marin County, CA


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