Monday, July 03, 2006


In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I've done this sort of thing before.I don't mean "write a blog" although I have done that also. I kept a travel blog for eight of the 18 months of blissful unemployment during which I scoped out a goodly portion of Mexico.

Instead I mean that I have test run the concept of "Wherever you go, blah blah blah" to see if it helped at all with certain problems I'd been wrangling with.

But before I explain that, consider:

When you examine this statement closely, it is completely retarded. "Wherever you go, there you are." Duh. Where else would you be?

Then again, if you consider the way people use it against it you, it is completely irritating. As I said before, they use it to blame you for all your problems. People also use it to tell you that moving or long trips are bad ideas because you can't get away from your problems; you bring them with you. In other words, your problems are all your fault and you bring them with you "wherever you go" so you might as well stay put and deal with them where you are.

If you think about that too much, you might never go another trip or vacation again and that's just plain stupid.

I went on an eight-month trip to Mexico and it changed my life. Or, if you buy into this idea of "wherever you go, there you are" (WYG, for short) you can restate this as "I went on a trip to Mexico and I changed my life."

In fact, during that time in Mexico and during the rest of my 18-month stint as a layabout (and honestly the full year prior to the trip), WYG was often foremost in my thoughts. To some degree, the trip was a test run of this concept.

At home, I was stressed, anxious, and lonely. I kept dating addicts and cheaters. Some friendships felt hollow and confusing. Hypochrondria and insomnia plagued me.

Guess what? All of this followed me to Mexico. In fact, some of it, like hypochrondria, intensified in Mexico. A developing country is a great place to get freaked out about every tiny scratch or bug bite. The stress, anxiety, and loneliness also intensified, natch. And everything else was just there. The addicts and cheaters. The uncomfortable friendships. Even the insomnia, which I had assumed was a symptom of stressful work life, came and went in the same basic cycle it always had.

So here's the big, burning question:

How does remembering that "wherever you go, there you are" help? What kind of assistance or consolation can it provide when you finally realize that you can't ever get away from your problems? That, in some sense, you're doomed - DOOMED, I tell you - to suffer through them?

I found an answer in Mexico. You accept them and you deal with them. When you encounter a problem, instead of screeching "eek!" and running away, you stare at it. You examine its every facet in minute detail. You turn it over as if it were a stone in the mud to see what's crawling around on its underside. Sometimes you find vibrant life and extraordinary beauty there. But even when you find something more akin to a scorpion, you don't turn away.

That's it.

You don't turn away and you don't try to crush it. You just watch in fascination as it does its thing. Eventually you realize, if I leave it be, it won't sting me.

But all that is neither here nor there at the moment. I went to Mexico and I came back happier and healthier. I still suffer from insomnia but alot of my anxiety went away. The tendency to fall for shitheads also went away. My relationships with other people feel 300 trillion times better than they did before I went.

What didn't go away was the one thing I couldn't take with me. My job problem. So now I'm ready to turn that rock over and see what's underneath.


Blogger Stacy said...

Akin to "wherever you go there you are..:

People used to tell me "Bloom where you're planted." I even got cards with this stupid phrase on it.

When I left for Wales and then for Seattle, it was because I wanted to travel and see the world and be in other places...and being planted wasn't on my still isn't.

I'm not a plant...

11:45 AM


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