Hi all! Let's continue the journey with Evolution Through Vacation!
As a reminder, it's Elissa here. I'll be your e>v ("e-thru-v") guinea pig as I tag along with Daniel in Indonesia for a few months. We're living outside of Surabaya on the island of Java. I've never been to this part of the world and, sigh, I'm in love with the food, the people, the art, the nature, the historical & religious sites, the abundance of islands just a short plane-ride away (!) ... all in all, I'm drinking in, eating up and absorbing any and all experiences that come my way.
First up, I had fun sharing a few samples from the "Prep" section of the guide – exploring my "baggage" in different life areas. If you haven't seen these posts, take a peek at the links below for a taste of what you can expect there!
For those new to Evolution Through Vacation, the Trip section is based on the anthropological idea of "liminality" – the concept within a Rite of Passage that occurs in the middle stage of transformational or cultural rituals. This, according to Wikipedia, is "when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete."
From its inception, e>v has positioned vacation as the perfect example of living in liminality – in the space between who you previously were "pre-trip" and, conversely, who you'll be when you arrive back home.
So, during my "Trip," I'm embracing this experience of betwixt and between by challenging myself to view new perspectives. I'm paying attention to new possibilities and options presented on my path. And, most of all, I'm looking at the world with fresh eyes.
With eyes so fresh, in fact, I feel like a kid again.
A cliché? Perhaps. But for me, it's right on. In fact, as I'm using tips, insights and ideas from the e>v guide, I'm marveling at how my "kid energy" is bubbling to the surface on this trip – especially whenever I'm in awe of a new or breathtaking or exotic place.
AKA, I'll look around all wide-eyed and say to Daniel, "It's like I'm in a movie!"
We've been laughing about this reaction I'm having. But, at the same time, I'm also taking it as a sign. It's made me think back to where this "movie" phrase all started. And, in true e>v-style, what I might be able to learn from it...
Growing up in the 80s in a teeny-tiny Minnesotan town, on the border of Canada, in the middle of nowhere, we had a small movie theatre. Called "Cine 1&2," it had two screens that played two times a day. And I saw practically every film that came through that place. In contrast to my everyday experience where winter temperatures sunk to 35 below and everyone within a 35-mile radius knew your business, going to "the show" (as we called it) was where I could escape, explore and be transported around the world.
As an adventurer, I traveled to Egypt with "Indiana Jones" and to South America through "Romancing the Stone." I explored the bustling streets of New York in "Working Girl" and "When Harry Met Sally." Exploring historical European landmarks, I spun on mountaintops in replays of the "Sound of Music" and, just as cinematically important, was an American tourist through "National Lampoon's European Vacation." I went to the savannas in "Out Of Africa," to China in "The Last Emperor," to Australia in "A Cry in the Dark," and to Mexico via one of the most brilliant comedic victories on human record, "Three Amigos." (Seriously people. Just watch it.)
On all these excursions, I'd study the locations, the clothes, the settings, the customs. I'd dream of jetting off to my next location. I wanted one of those suitcases that had stickers of foreign locations plastered all over it, visual badges of a life well lived.
The first time I finally got on a plane, I was 16-years-old and gleefully settled in for an 8.5 hour jaunt to London, England. Start small? Pshaw. I'd been living small my whole life... Traveling with a handful of other high school kids, our Drama Club ventured across the pond to see theatre productions, important landmarks and, most importantly, to sneak into pubs and drink beer with handsome lads who pronounced our names unlike we'd ever heard.
While on this trip – standing amidst Stonehenge, visiting Bath, touring the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, William Shakespeares' grave at Stratford-Upon-Avon – I was finally out in the world. I was seeing things I'd only read in books and, even more, only seen in movies.
As we all came from a small town, my other drama nerds and I walked the streets of London, quoting "Hey look, kids! Big Ben! Parliament!" and "It's only a flesh wound! Coward!" These references made us laugh. But even more, they made us feel like we were part of a world we had only seen glimpses of. England was even more special to us – to me & my small-town crew – because we'd seen it on the big screen. We were in this real world; it existed. And, suddenly, so did we.
Since that first trip, I've made it my life's goal to explore the world as much as I can and, from Bogota to Budapest, I've had my fair share of global exposure over the years. But, today? As I'm exploring, touring and traveling through Indonesia? While e>v is encouraging me to expand and evolve and grow? I'm remembering back to this feeling I once had: the excitement of simply being in awe of the world.
So, as we hike the jungle or tour ancient Buddhist or Hindu temples or bum around a cool beach town, I'll happily reference my feeling of "being in a movie." And when I do, I'll take it as a reminder to be fully immersed in the moment and in gratitude. As awareness of being completely awake and inspired. And, most of all, as an homage to a forgotten part of myself – the small-town girl who is still so excited to be part of this big world.