Jul 24, 2005

Pictures and Ponderings from a Pleasant Place


... but more on that later, when I get some pictures ready for stories.

Until then I´ve been doing a lot of thinking about life the universe and everything lately. This trip thus far is starting to act as a small microcosm of my my whole life until now.

We´ve been gone for about a month and half (I haven´t a clue what the exact date is today, and love that fact). Through good fortune and helpful advice Tyler and I were able to hit the ground running and grinning in Central America. After a month of classes our Spanish while not fluent can get us from here to there and in a babytalk conversation along the way. We´ve cut our teeth on crowded chicken buses, obscure little towns and the joys and pitfalls of travelling in a developing country. People we´ve met along the way have been kind and helpful and without them this experience wouldn´t be a fraction of what it is. But lately I´ve been feeling a tug that there should be something more. Its hard to sit in the paradise I´m at and look out onto such poverty and imagine that all is well with the world.

That mirrors much of my life in the past 28 years. Although I´ve had my share of challenges I´ve also lived a fortunate life that I´m deeply grateful for. Through generous people, rewarding experiences and more grants than I can count the world has really taken a gamble that I´ll somehow contribute at least as much as I´ve been given. In my youth throughout grad school, despite doing what I could, I definately felt that I was being offered far more than I was offering. The last few years of working and paying bills felt like in the grand scheme of things I was (and am) breaking even. Although the world, through some particularly generous people, were still investing in the man I may become I was also doing my share to make their investment worthwhile in the short term. But that, when I am honest with myself, doesn´t begin to pay back my karmic debt for the many things I´ve been given. I´m not sure how, or what, I should do. I just have an increasingly nagging feeling that I should do it.

Tyler and I, by mutual desire, are fully aware that we´re in the pure vacation part of our trip and that its end is approaching. We´ve spent a month with people teaching us Spanish, visited spectacular natural wonders and are looking forward to ancient ruins and a couple weeks living the beach bum life in Honduras. But although we´re comfortable and happy we are starting to wonder what we can do to help. We´ve lined up some volunteer work already. We´re helping out in an ecovillage in Ecuador and spending a month or two working on some South American organic farms. But we´re both getting antsy to leave Central America a little better than we found it. We´ve caught wind of a way to spend some time building Nicaraguan homes with Habitat for Humanity and another helping out a beleagured species of Sea Turtle. With that in mind we can thrive on the bliss we´re in now knowing that our turn to help is coming soon.


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