Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Travels: Assorted Sensations

Tomorrow, Dan and I will celebrate our ten-year “relationship” anniversary. To be accurate, our actual wedding anniversary is in January – but since little changed between us when we got hitched in Las Vegas back in 2001 – I consider the day of our first official date (July 22, 1999) the true start of our strange adventure together.

All technicalities aside, the point of my rambling is that thinking about our anniversary led me to reflect upon the myriad travels we’ve experienced together – across the United States and beyond. And those thoughts led to yet another one... about being grateful for what we have.

Let’s be honest – no matter how hard we try, most of us complain more often than we should. Whether it’s about an incident that happened at work, something a relative said or did, a story heard on the news, a terrible headache that just won’t go away, or any one of a million other day-to-day issues, we all have moments in which we focus more on the negative than the positive... a fact that does much to strip us of the happiness and peace of mind that we each deserve.

Sadly, I’m often guilty of such negativity, and it usually takes something momentous – like the untimely passing of a friend or relative – to jolt me from my daily routine and inspire me to live each moment as if it were my last. But I’m trying – really trying – to stop worrying about the past (or the future, for that matter) and embrace the here and now. The key, for me, is to focus not just on the good things in my life – like my parents and in-laws, my husband and kitty, my passion for writing, my occasional sense of humor, and so forth – but to also concentrate on the elements that usually go unnoticed by those that possess them – like a reasonable use of my five senses.

After all, how much poorer would all my travel experiences with Dan have been if I couldn’t see the brilliant Colorado River snaking through the Grand Canyon, if I couldn’t hear the constant clicks and bells in a Las Vegas casino, if I couldn’t smell the seafood gumbo in the French Quarter, if I couldn’t feel the ever-present breeze on South Padre Island, if I couldn’t touch the soft rose petals at the Huntington Gardens? I am truly grateful for all five of my precious senses – even on the days when the sunlight nearly blinds me, the winners’ screams almost deafen me, the trash on Bourbon Street makes me want to stuff my nostrils, the wind blows scratchy sand against my cheek, and a thorn pricks my finger.

While I wouldn’t trade any of my senses for all the money in the world, I think I’d be most lost without my hearing. I simply wouldn’t be willing to part with the ability to hear my favorite bands, practice my guitar, take the stage at a karaoke bar, or listen to the varied soundscapes that have defined my travels over the past ten years. All I have to do is close my eyes, and I can hear the clip-clop of the passing horse-drawn carriages in New Orleans, the screeching seagulls and crashing waves on South Padre Island, and the singing birds and rustling trees of northern Michigan. Oh, yes, I’m grateful for my ears, for my memories, and for everything else in my life.

Just what sensations will tomorrow bring?


A misinterpreted wave said...

I loved everything you described. I've never been to America, but Hubby and I are planning to take our little one to San Francisco as a stopover next year. We are so excited. Being grateful is so important. I am grateful for so many things. At the moment it is the rain we are getting in drought plagued Melbourne. It's filling my water tank, which is a bonus.

Laura Martone said...

Hey, Wave! Glad to hear that you're getting some much-needed rain. I've never been to Australia, but having lived in California for several years, I understand the horrors of a drought.

Oh, and that's so exciting about your trip to San Fran! I love that town - I plan to blog about it soon... on my "American Nomad" travel blog at Moon.com.