Time has been slipping between my fingers lately. Life, it seems, is the hare. My desire for simplicity is the turtle, begging for levity.
I’ve been absent these past few weeks, and for that, I apologize. Last week my family and I were in Vermont on vacation. It was the escape I had been craving.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I always take something from a vacation. Some kind of philosophical enlightenment that I can’t find as I molder at home, in a familiar background, listening to the same old soundtrack of my life.
What did I take from Vermont? A lot more than I thought I would.
Did you know they don’t have McDonalds in Vermont? Actually, they probably have one somewhere, but we did not lay eyes on a single McDonalds the whole time we were in the state. In fact, there were no chain stores except a few Subways and Dollar Generals. Not sure what this says about the residents of Vermont, but I was pleasantly surprised by this finding.
Not only were we forced to consider different options for our meals, but we also didn’t have a Walmart to purchase groceries from (yep- no Walmart either!). There were small markets in each little town- the kind with a little of everything that you need. I wonder what Vermonters think when they go to other states where there are faceless box stores on every corner.
What I took from this experience was there are American lives that are very different from mine. And I’m not talking socio-economic either. There simply weren’t any fast food chains. Whether rich or poor, you couldn’t get a Big Mac if the craving assailed you.
I also noticed another phenomenon that I’d never put a name to before. Whenever I am traveling and staying for more than a few days, I begin to assimilate. I start to feel like I’m a part of the landscape, I feel attuned to the rhythm of my new “home”. I start to pay attention to local news, and I care about it.
When we were in Vermont, five teenagers were killed in a horrific car accident.
We watched the local coverage and felt the pain of the community. It wasn’t just a story from far away. Though this was a terrible thing to see, it felt good to feel the connection with another place. It’s what I crave when I travel.
Because I’m an unsettled spirit. I always will be. This is why vacation is important. I need to feel like a citizen of the world.