A year ago, if you asked me for 1 word to describe myself ,without hesitation my reply would have been “seeker.” What was I seeking for? Today, I am not sure, but back then I spent a lot of time reading, writing and wondering about what the right “fit” was for me. I felt pressured and believed that if I looked hard enough, the answer would be revealed to me. As if I would ponder and ponder and ponder and then *poof* the right job, car, house and religious practice would appear.
These days, I describe myself as more of a “sampler.” I do not desire the one right fit, whether it be the perfect black dress or where I have my mail delivered. There is so much of life to experience. How can I deny my senses the opportunity to try new things by cementing myself to one?
For example, I could dedicate all of my free time to rock climbing, but what does that cost me? What other experiences do I give up in the time I spend climbing? In the past, I have tended to dive headlong into things and dedicate myself to them completely. A week, month or year later I become disillusioned. (If you don’t believe me, just ask me to email you a copy of my resume and you’ll see what I mean).
I have the courage and brains to pursue anything I’d like, but my search for the ONE ultimate joy in life has been in vain. Well folks, I choose to abandon the search. Instead, I will sample.
I will become an organic gardener-for a season. I will live in a tent in the woods-for 2 months. I will bicycle miles upon miles and then never bicycle again. I will learn a foreign language. Hell, I may learn 10. Above all, I will remember that for me the joy is in the journey.
Surely, some of my loves in life will remain constant: a closeness with nature, visits to the library, writing, interest in spirituality and philosophical talks with friends. However, the expression of these passions will change as I spend my time sampling all this gorgeous world has to offer.
One day, Jay and I discuss these ideas as we head down the hill from a climbing area on the North end of the island. We discuss seeking and sampling and the difference between the two. Jay stops in the middle of the road to point out a goat that is standing in a tree eating leaves from the highest branches. We turn our head sideways and crane our necks in different directions to try to understand how the goat got into the tree.
A car pulls up and the driver asks if we would like a ride. As we climb in, we are once again amazed at the pure kindness of the people on the island. We hadn’t even had time to stick our thumbs out.
Our driver, Andres, embodies all the attractive elements of being Greek. He is tall, thin, with sparkling brown eyes, a gorgeous olive complexion and jet black hair. He is easy-natured, kind and his English is very good. I would guess that Andres is somewhere in his late 30s.
He tells us that he loves to travel and his work as a scuba diver has taken him all over the world. Jay, Andres and I discuss our wanderlust as he drives us into town. Andres says people on the island do not understand why he loves to travel and think he is a bit strange. As he talks, Jay and I nod and murmur sounds of understanding and camaraderie. He says his wanderlust makes him feel isolated at times, but he feels alive while planning his trips and seeing new places. Andres goes on to say that he is getting ready for a job in India. He will leave in the next week and is really excited.
As we drive, I remember how a friend sent me off in the States by saying, “Have a good trip. I hope you find what you are looking for.” I ask Andres if he has ever heard this phrase. As soon as the words leave my lips, he slams on the brakes and the car screeches to a halt. I lunge forward, recover and then turn to look at Andres. Jay is still tumbling around the backseat, caught in our climbing gear, when Andres turns to look at me.
Andres, red-faced, eyes flashing and using hand gestures known only to the Greeks, says, “Why the fuck would someone say this?”
I laugh until tears form in my eyes and stream down my face.
“I don’t know, Andres,” I say, “But I’ll be sure to ask the next person who does.”