a mash-up of adventure & philosophy
There seems to be an unspoken-but-purposeful tradition layered among the trivialities of every generation, and for mine (and others following, I suppose) it was that of the solo adventure travel sort.
In my own case, this included a bus tour around Western Europe in the company of a wide assortment of my fellow nationals, a dozen or so Australians, a handful of Americans, and a peppering of other twenty-something sightseers from a global mish-mash of origins.
We traveled with the notion of having a holiday, away from the recently-trimmed apron strings of our parents, and soused with enough booze and raucous behavior that I’m nearly certain that to this day some of those stories remain untold, and with good reason.
But while the notion of a European vacation may have brought us to that particular bus, during that particular moment in time, many of us crossing oceans and spending hard-earned summer-job cash, there was another notion buried in the core of our individual motivations.
Many of us –and having spent long, reflective and conversational hours on a slowly moving bus with near-strangers has a way of uncovering these sorts of anecdotal truths– were there to find something in ourselves. We were looking at the scenery, but simultaneously on a kind of modern kind-of vision quest. We were there to test ourselves and seek ourselves and enrich ourselves in whatever that experience held for us to uncover.
Years later, at a nearby presentation of the not-TED but-just-like-it variety, I watched through a deliberately short slideshow of a young lady’s holiday trek. She flipped rapidly through a few dozen prototypical “my first solo vacation” photos, herself posing with random locals and fellow travelers in front of famous landmarks across a host of foreign countries.
The exact title of her presentation has long since escaped me, but the topic was a subset of my own… and the conclusion was similar too: she wanted to learn to care more about her world, and through her adventures she learned to care more about her home.
She looked outward to explore in.
Does this imply some kind of universality to this effort, then?
No. Of course not.
But this random girl was trying to tell her audience, with a slideshow of her precious-to-her photographs, exactly what I had suspected from a few dozen bus-ride conversations with folks long since strangers to me, each of them gone back to ordinary lives, building families and communities and enhancing their own selves back home… at least that is how I imagine it. She had discovered (and thus concluded) that her inner self was revealed by exploring the world, and that it made her a different person from the knowing of it.