I’m heading to Alaska! Well, at least I will be in a few days… And when I say Alaska, I really mean heading to Florida… on my way to Massachusetts… on my way to Alaska. I have dozens of waypoints along the way that are fixed in both space and time, but all along a route that’s packed to the rafters with life and substance. So, here I am at T minus four days, trying to think of what I haven’t thought of.
It occurs to me that I should probably take an inventory of stuff, just to make sure that I have everything packed prior to departure. But I need to take a mental inventory too. This adventure is about outward AND inward discovery. So I need to make sure that my head’s in the right place along with all the other random bric a brac that still needs to be stowed away. Speaking for myself, it’s all too easy to get caught up in planning for the future while missing half of what’s going on in the present.
There’s this memorable scene from the film Hunt for Red October where an American commander makes reference to an enemy submarine’s bizarre search behavior. He tells the other officer, “Their sonar is active, but they’re moving at almost forty knots. At that speed, they could run right over my daughter’s stereo and not hear it…” What an excellent metaphor for this adventure, and life for that matter. I love maps and I have a most excellent imagination. I also love logistics. Planning this trip has been an amazing way to creatively occupy my time for months. But now that it’s approaching, I really need to get my head out of the planning phase and into the enjoyment phase. Otherwise all those waypoints I plotted will be just a random series of goals to be reached, instead of the navigable turns between each set of experiences. The fundamental reason for this adventure is to practice living in the moment, enjoying the scenery, embracing the now. I need to be open to all the opportunities that present themselves each day, recreational, educational, creative, whatever.
Life is short. And there’s wonder to be found in every moment. This chapter, for me, is about becoming aware, receptive and eager for new experiences. That’s my assignment: Viva la vida bohemia… Todos las dias!