Friday, 28. May 2010 16:34
I’m on vacation and as I climbed a 12% grade on my bicycle for more than a mile yesterday, I realized that VACATE is a key part of the concept of “vacation.” Indeed, I have vacated my normal everyday life and most of my normal everyday thought processes. Because I am on a fairly rigorous biking excursion (by choice) in a foreign country, my days are filled with basic needs that require immediate attention: Where will I bike today? Do I have everything I need for the next few hours? Do I have sufficient water?
It feels good to replace the never-ending to-do list, the house-hold chores and bill paying with very simple needs – although I miss my clients and my writing. The biking is demanding and the days are long, but there is no stress. I am traveling with a group of new friends who are also here to bike and experience the country. This is always a sweet part of group bike excursions: Meeting new people from all walks of life, of all ages and varying interests. We gather together for many of our meals, and because we are in Portugal, dinner start late and go for hours. This time, there are 10 of us, plus two guides.
So far, I know all about their families, their education, their commitment to biking and where else they have traveled. In a short amount of time, one becomes fairly intimate with their fellow travelers, only to bid them adieu after a week or so of intense familiarization. This is not unique to bike trips: most of us have these kinds of encounters regualry: with clients, in business settings and in other personal experiences. But somehow, this time it feels a bit different. Perhaps it´s because I know that although we will exchange a few e-mails and some snap shots, we will all get busy with “real” life and over time, we will lose touch. And I know already that I will miss them each individually and collectively.
How often do we become deeply involved in a group relationship that exists for only a brief time? This is the bittersweet for me: acknowledging that my life has been touched and changed by people I may never see again. I am grateful for the experience and I carry a little piece of it with me forever, but I also feel the sadness of letting go.
But alas, the next experience beckons me to leave this one behind - only to be touched and changed again.