New Directions

Posted: March 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Thoughts | 2 Comments »


Over the last month, I’ve struggled.  And I’ve struggled with the fact that I’m struggling.  The only English channel here in our Viennese hotel room is CNN.  And everyday I’m inundated with images of the lost Malaysian flight, the burgeoning protests sparking across the world, the deadly landslide in the US.  Everyday, as I walk down the streets, I’m faced with people begging.  I think to myself, “What right do I have to struggle?  I’m so incredibly blessed in my life.”  Yet, I’ve been forced to face that though my issues aren’t on par in terms of objective distress to many others, that doesn’t make them any less real to me. 

Rick and I have been talking a lot lately, specifically on the concept of “carpe diem” and on legacies.  Both topics could be said to be the impetus of our trip in the first place, and an ongoing theme.  “Carpe Diem” meaning “seize the day” comes from one of our favorite movies, “Dead Poets Society”.  It’s a phrase concerning an acceptance that we have a limited timespan in this world, making each moment indescribably precious.  Perhaps we’re still young enough for idealism, but we both feel how unbearable it would be to waste our limited years, especially with the whole world beckoning. 

Who knows how many years we have?  I don’t know when I’ll die.  Perhaps I’ll be as long-lived as my grandfather, who’s 96 and still going strong.  But can I guarantee that, even if I do everything “right”? Rick had a classmate who passed away suddenly in an accident.  I had a friend, only a few years older, who passed away two days after coming down with a mysterious illness.  We’ve visited the grave of John Keats and Percy Shelley in Rome, seen the art of Egon Schiele in Vienna, all of whom died around my age.  Do I fear death?  No.  Death, itself, doesn’t matter so much, because I can do little to prevent it aside from what I’m already doing.  But life?  I fear living an unfulfilled life, to not be able to do what I love in the time I have.

Which brings me to the next part: Legacies.  How do I want to be remembered after I die?  What am I leaving behind? Some may say I have a morbid fascination with death.  I can’t refute that, except maybe the word “morbid”.  I have a complicated relationship with the concept of death, but one thing I know for sure, is that someday it’ll happen to me.  Even if someone promised me eternal life on Earth, I’m not interested.  Death and Life, two sides of the same coin.  And after we die, the person we truly are: our experiences, our unique perceptions, our most private inexpressible thoughts are forever lost to those left behind.  So what’s left?  What lingers?  It’s our actions and our work.  And I’ve given hard thought as to what I’d like to leave behind as my own legacy. 

So, am I in a crisis?  I suppose, but it’s not in not knowing what I want to do with my life and the influence I want to have on this world.  I’m very clear on these things.  It’s just the HOW I’m having trouble with.  The path before me is clouded over.  I can only see a few inches before me at a time and I’m praying the path I’m on leads me to the destination I’m seeking.  And while it’s exciting, it’s also terrifying and frustrating and humbling.  But I’m slowly (sometimes, too slowly) picking my way forward. 

If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely asking yourself what this has to do with a travel blog.  Well, it concerns the new direction I’m taking this blog. It’s been fun telling you, my few loyal readers, every interesting thing we’ve experienced.  However, you’ve no doubt figured out, I’m hopelessly behind.  Croatia, Italy, Germany, and, now, Austria are behind us and I’ve yet to even type up anything about them.  Each time I try, I become stymied.  For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out the real reason why.  I kept telling myself I just needed time and focus. Today, I finally understood.  I’m not interested in detailing everything we do.  Truthfully, most of what I’m writing can be found in a million other blogs and websites, many of whom I use myself to do my travel research.  And truthfully, I can’t do it better than them.  What I’m interested in are the stories we collect, the conversations Rick and I have, and the thoughts I have (navel-gazing, anyone?)  I’ve tried to infuse these things in my blog posts, but realized I was trying too hard to be like everyone else (plus doing it badly).  It felt like junior high all over again, which was NOT a good time.  So you’ll notice a sharp drop-off of “things we did” posts, which has been a mess of art museums and visiting dead people anyways.  Instead, they’ll be replaced with more subject-oriented posts and stories we’ve come across.  I hope you’ll still enjoy reading these.  I know they’ll certainly be more true to the person I am and our travel experience.

2 Comments on “New Directions”

  1. 1 Oliver said at 5:08 pm on May 18th, 2014:

    Just realized that I haven’t read your blogs for quite a few weeks. I enjoy your writings, Tina! It is difficult enough to write journals daily; I remember I had to write “I have nothing to say today” in my journals when I wanted myself to be faithful about writing. It is more difficult to write journals for others to read, especially when there are no feedback. Every spring, when flowers start blooming, my wife would take pictures and cheerily share them with families and friends from other part of the worlds, all forgetting that she has done this last year and the year before, but her audience cheers with the same enthusiasm and delight each year. No matter how many writers have written about Tel Aviv, your version is unique and has its value to many people.

  2. 2 ctbideas said at 1:23 am on May 26th, 2014:

    Thank you Oliver for your encouraging comment! I had truthfully relegated this blog to the back burner, but to know people are still reading it gives me a little push to get back into the swing of things.

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