Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Life Experiences

Why move halfway around the world? Why leave our community full of supportive loving friends and family to trample across an expensive country thousands of miles away with two small children? Then why, once you have returned home repeat the experience and do it again?  Why make a habit of leaving a comfortable life? Can the act of feeling "settled" actually be unsettling?

After five years of a roller-coaster ride marriage I can now simply answer that question: life experiences.  They are irreplaceable, non-returnable, and many cost nothing at all.  The first Christmas together as husband and wife, Paul bought me an amazing present that I will never forget.  We were about to move to Barcelona to finish his masters which meant I again had to quit my job, fit my life into one suitcase, and head to a town with no friends or family. Why? Life experiences. That Christmas, having known it would be my first trip to Europe, Paul bought me a eurorail pass. For only $400, less than the cost of a bed or new couch, I was able to spend a whole month enjoying the culture, scenery, food, and sights of more countries than I had been to in my first 25 years.

Some find it difficult to conceive a lifestyle that involves moving, traveling, and countless hours of self-entertaining. Giving up your favorite shows, furniture, proximity to family, even native language is just asking too much physically and financially. But really, is that what makes a person? What they have or do? Who they know, more than how they treat them? Would we ever really have enough to measure up?  After ten years of living life to both extremes, I can say resoundingly that life experiences and how we treat others are invaluable. I still have much to discover and ponder, but they are my why.

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