Geography is not my strong suite. This, despite the fact that I have a strong desire to visit every nation. I think this desire stems from the fact that of all things I am mostly relational. Even my enjoyment of nature comes from the fact that I unconsciously (and consciously) interact with animals, nature and even inanimate objects as if they are secretly human. So when I meet someone from another place and I get to know them a little, I want to see where they are from.
I saw this documentary a few years ago that took place partly in Mongolia and afterward
no images were foundI would sit around imagining what it would be like to be there in person. What does the air smell like? Is the air fresh like my hometown in Washington or is it still and full of decades of bodies and meals cooked like downtown Chicago?..
It feels like too long since I’ve traveled very far. I have this irrational fear that the longer I go without leaving the country, the harder it will be until I’m agoraphobic and unable to get myself onto an airplane or even out of the house, fearing germs and noise and alien abduction.
Of course that’s silly. If you know me, you might know that I’m a big fan of Worst Case Scenarios. Not because I’m morbid (although I probably am) but because usually worst case scenarios end up making me laugh and dispelling my fear. Usually whatever fear I’m feeling is based on some vaguely horrible unknown and if I put some color and names to what could happen, I’m pushed to realize how ridiculous it is to waste time with fear.
Are you beginning to wonder if this post has a point? It doesn’t, really. Worst case scenario, I write more than a thousand words and leave you hopeless like some independent film about a guy with cancer (or a brain cloud).
What does it all mean? Mongolia, anthropomorphism, worst case scenarios, Joe Vs. The Volcano.
Here’s something I’m grateful for- I already have traveled quite a bit. I stood, once in a train station in Hamburg, Germany listening to Peter Gabriel’s live voice singing Sledgehammer (he was performing in a park nearby). I’ve slept on lumbering, bustling trains winding through Italy and another through Vietnam. I attended a wedding once in the Netherlands (hands down the best wedding I’ve attended) of a couple I barely knew but somehow also got to be in their posed photographs. I performed a cheesy YWAM drama (wherein I played the devil) on a huge stage in Thailand right before the main act came on (a show involving dozens of glittering transvestites). One time I was sleeping in a tent with my sister and was jolted awake in the middle of the night by a gunshot and was so tired that, after answering my sister’s frightened question with an, “I don’t know,” I promptly fell right back to sleep.
I’m not saying any of that to brag because I’m sure you’ve got your own crazy, fun, bizarre stories. I say all of that because as I sit here now in my hotel room for a bedroom on a very warm Colorado evening, I’m struck by how blessed and beautiful and weird is this life. If I had been Solomon and God asked me what I really wanted to ask him for, I think I might ask that I never lose a sense of wonder or a sense of humor. Wisdom is also pretty useful, I suppose but I’m constantly grateful for the ability to see the funny side of things.
Whether or not I get to see Mongolia or ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad, shop in a market in Pokhara, Nepal or hike across New Zealand, I am grateful to be alive, to not be alone and to be able to laugh.