Last month I traveled to El Salvador to visit a good friend and go somewhere I've never been before. I had a great time catching up with my friend, sharing memories, and gaining a new perspective on many important issues including NGOs, sustainable farming, indigenous people groups, the economy, fatherhood, work, etc. And I got to look inside the caldera of a volcano and try fresh caught manta ray and shark for the first time ever! But I also worked hard because I didn't want to be the lazy American visitor and because it was planting season on his farm.
That work afforded a lot of time for self-reflection. Here's a snippet from one of my journal entries:
"I love to travel, but I don't think I'm up for woofing it and working on farms for an extended period of time. I was most alive when I was doing something artistic or creative like taking pictures or learning a new instrument. But the farm provided a good analogy for life: Work hard and get something done every day. There's always more you could do, but you can't work in the rain and at the end of it all you have to trust that enough seeds will grow and produce fruit and also be okay that many may not.
I am an artist. I am a creator. Sure, I can do anything, but farming and manual labor is not for me the way acting, storytelling, music, and even photography is for me. I am a peacemaker and a friend. I am a laugh-maker and a listener. I'm not the fastest and I know I need help, but I am growing and I am watching and I am learning. I am an artist. And I will continue to build my farm and sow my seed. Though it is important to have vision and goals to strive for in a life with no guarantees, I will learn to enjoy the process above the product, the present journey above the distant journey's end."
How has traveling helped you to learn more about your own life? Feel free to leave a comment below.