Thursday, January 13, 2011

SUNRISE January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011 Sunrise 7:23 am


“Somewhere between Sunrise and Sunset, 

Two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes”.

No reward is offered, for they are gone forever”. - Horace Mann

When I traveled in Europe many years ago, I had a self-imposed budget to keep me in bed and board for the six months I was traveling.  It was patterned after Frommer’s – “Europe on $10 a Day”.  I had a certain amount of money in my pocket.  I had a finite number of days I wished to spend traveling on an extended grand adventure.  Pretty easy math.  Number of dollars divided by number of days for the maximum experience.  There were no more dollars coming into the equation, so for the equation to work, I had to be careful with the amount spent per day. 

I carried a little blue spiral notebook with me and it was very much like a checkbook.  I would track my expenses minutely, every penny, every day.  If I spent less money on Tuesday, I could carry that over to the following Wednesday or add it back into the total.  I had three columns.  The first was the total dollars available for the day ($10.00). The second was what I actually spent that day.  The third was my plus or minus to carry over to the next day.  Pretty simple accounting.  If I knew there was a day coming up that would require more money, I would miserly live a simpler life in the proceeding days to save up for the big spending day/week. 

If an unplanned spending opportunity caught me off guard and I went over my daily budget, I had to pay the piper in the following days, until I was even again.  I couldn’t run out of money before my prepaid-can’t-change-the-date return flight back to the U.S. arrived.

Although I now realize that TIME, in the form of our precious hours, has greater value than money, the equation stays the same, but with an unknown number of days to complete the equation.  This begs the cocktail-hour game question, “If you had but a week (day, month, year, a thousand days) to live, how would you spend it”?

Let’s say, you are in Europe – you have thirty days and $300 dollars (obviously, I am still trapped in 1976 when that was actually sufficient).  How do you choose?  You can’t travel everywhere with that amount of money and that number of days.  How do you maximize your adventure with what you have?  Do you spend a little each day and travel more or do you travel less but spend more where you are? You have to have dollars right up to the last day. You have to make decisions, hopefully mostly good, based on leaving Europe, with the least amount of regret and the biggest payoff for your days invested.

Let’s say, rather, you are a living soul on Earth (what a concept) – you have 24 hours in each day and you have 1000 days to spend them.  How do you maximize your adventure with what you have available?  You have to make decisions, hopefully mostly good, based on leaving Life, with the least amount of regret, and with the biggest payoff for your days invested.

When I was in Europe, I had a decision to make after arriving in Greece.  An unexpected circumstance depleted my traveling account significantly.  My return ticket home was four months away.  No more money coming in – no fewer or greater days available.  I had one hundred twenty days left and based on my original budget, I had just enough money for ninety days.   

 The solution I chose was to go off-grid for thirty days on a remote beach on one of the Greek islands and lived on $1.00 a day (remember, this is 1976).  I lived in a little bamboo hut on a stretch of beach facing the Aegean Sea.  Although it wasn’t the grand adventure to Spain, as I had planned, the time spent there was one of the highlights of my trip.   

Totally alone. No cultural or historically civilizing distractions.  The stony beach stretched away for as far as I could see to the left and right.  The beautiful blue-green ocean glistening into the horizon in front of me, thirty feet from the front of my hut.  Behind me, a massive olive orchard, with civilization somewhere beyond.   
An Island in Greece many years ago

Time to think and reflect, with no pull on me to mow the lawn, set the clock, get to bed on time, rush off to work, or any of the usual daily obligations vying for my minutes.  In the beginning I thought the thirty days would never end and was brooding over my loss of a preplanned foreign adventure to Spain.  As I became more comfortable internally with me, my newly discovered friend, I soon lamented the rapidly disappearing hours and days.

The road to introspection, unfortunately, is too often  the road least traveled, but more often than not, it will surely make all the difference (accolades to Robert Frost). As I am most fortunate to have had many magnificent real-world travel adventures in my life-time, full-enough to cause my memory box to overflow, the last grand use of remaining TIME, spelunking into the mysterious abyss of self-analysis, bodes to be the most rewarding and fulfilling adventure yet.

“I live in my heart.  So it doesn’t matter where my body lives.  If I am happy inside, then I live in Paradise, no matter where my residence is.  If you can’t find happiness inside yourself, you’ll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move.  Wherever you go, there you are.  You take yourself with you. - Mac Anderson, Simple Truths


No comments:

Post a Comment