Although John and Edith have targeted an area for their journey, their final destination is not yet completely known.
They seek a livelier environment, with more influences from other parts of the world, and hope to gain new experiences there. The route may be varied, yet there is a kind of routine in their daily activity. Wake up, have something to eat, pack everything together and on the road it goes. During the trip they pay attention to wildlife and other possible risks while looking for usable fruits and herbs. In the evening there’s a search for a place to stay, preferably with fresh water in the neighborhood. Then they recover, take care of any inconveniences, drink, eat and sleep again. With such a repetitive pattern every day, there are moments that you doubt the initiative. That’s when you make a comparison between what you previously had and still know so well, with what you now encounter or expect to see when the journey is over. Returning travelers often say:
Home, sweet home!
Is that really true?
John now notices that previously he used to lose less energy in his familiar world. Admittedly, it did not give him much energy… the reason why they eventually left. Now every day costs energy, but they are rewarded with euphoric feelings when they complete a difficult stage, solve a problem satisfactorily, or simply through beautiful panoramas of landscapes. They feel welcome by the curious animals that follow them, with hardly noticeable sounds and glistening eyes in dense vegetation. According to Edith, it is precisely this variety and dynamism that attracts them. This is no longer a comfort zone. Everyday life, even though there is a recurring routine, is now much more varied and surprising. This constant exposure to new challenges and impressions sometimes makes them doubt. That’s when the head longs for the peace and predictability of the past.
But their hearts know what is better for them.
They only have to think back to the jitters they felt when there was again another community discussion, with the same crowd and opinions, allowing each other little room for change, with all those people who spent their life in the same daily treadmill.
John automatically thinks back to Rob, a hard-working colleague who had been taken away from their world far too early. Someone who tried to enjoy everything, and shared humor and personal involvement everywhere. He was a well-versed employee, and though someone who preferred to stay in the background, he nevertheless stimulated his environment to engage in special adventures. On his death, his wife and daughters shared a motto that John and Edith immediately appreciated:
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.
(Dedicated to Rob Raaijmakers)