Friday, April 6: Over the past five years, my life has taken a detour on a journey I never anticipated. I’ve taken countless mini-journeys in the larger journey that is my overall life, traveling all over the world, especially in the Middle East and Asia.  In this journey, I’ve learned much about myself, both positive and negative.  I’ve experienced amazing and disturbing things.  I’ve been shocked and awed, I’ve felt peace and unease.

I’ve chosen three photos that tell something about a journey, my journey and the journey of life.

Sometimes a journey can be dark and disturbing. It can be uncomfortable; it can take us out of our zone of familiarity and thrust us into a strange world that can be disorienting. A journey can be a disappointment, troublesome, irritating, highly uncomfortable and inconvenient. This train station in Jaipur, India is one place that represents the darkness in a journey.  There is much unsettling in India’s train stations: people sleeping directly on the pavement with huge rats scrounging around their heads, rats running around under the trains where urinals inside the trains empty directly onto the tracks, all manner of suspicious and shady-looking characters.  I felt uncomfortable and disturbed in these places, yet I moved forward and went through the journey nonetheless.

the train station at midnight in Jaipur, India: dark and disturbing

A journey can also teach us about ourselves, prod us to push the outer edges of the envelope of our lives.  It can be a discovery of who we are, the good, the bad and the ugly.  It can also be exotic, delightful, poetic, seductive.  Longings are awakened.  Curiosity blooms.  Boredom happens, but in the midst of boredom, awe and nostalgia and a new way of seeing are brought to life.

Everywhere I go, I can never resist climbing to some high point to see a view.  These steps in Geoje-do, South Korea represent the journey as discovery, as awakening.  They seem hopeful and represent for me the possibilities that a journey holds.

some beautiful steps at Windy Hill in Geoje-do, South Korea.

Finally, a journey can be carefree and whimsical.  When I’m on a journey, I feel I can throw my heart to the wind and let it carry me wherever it wants.  All my responsibilities are tossed aside and I can truly enjoy the experience that’s offered up to me. I can let my emotions free, I can love and learn from people I encounter. These boys outside of Agra, India rode along beside us and tossed rose petals into our car, laughing and flirting with us.  It didn’t seem to matter to them that we were older than their mothers!!  They represent the carefree nature of journey.  The joy, the love… 🙂

I can't believe 5 boys fit on this motorcycle in Agra, India!