Being back in the U.S. is hard. So says every student who has been abroad and must return to living in their parent’s house a semester of ultimate freedom 2,000+ miles away from any obligation to attend class or hold down a job. Being in Gilford, New Hampshire is hard. So says every graduate of Gilford High School who has to return to this 8,000 person town on their winter break. Instead of walking five minutes to the grocery store, there’s a ten minute drive involved. Before you leave, your sister asks you to grab some organic avocados and your dad asks if you can pick up some more matches because otherwise he won’t be able to light the fire that will keep everyone’s toes from freezing when it’s negative ten outside.
Conclusion I could make: Life is hard for the unemployed, and (soon to be) highly educated.
Why I refuse to make it: Considering the state of the rest of the world this is wrong. No, life is not hard for us here. Sometimes I want to walk to the grocery store, buy a tub of chocolate ice cream, and leave without anyone knowing! I’d like to sit at the bar and talk to people who don’t know my parents. I think one reason I like traveling is because new experiences and sensations and feelings are flooding over me all the time. So just by getting my body into an environement that isn’t Gilford, New Hampshire, I am constantly learning. But since I don’t have the money to constantly move myself around the world to new environments, I want to find ways to learn in my familiar environments too.
Wendell Berry’s poem and travelling in smaller distances around town on foot helped me realize how to keep learning here, right now.
Travelling At Home
Even in a country you know by heart
it’s hard to go the same way twice.
The life of the going changes.
The chances change and make a new way.
Any tree or stone or bird
can be the bud of a new direction. The
natural correction is to make intent
of accident. To get back before dark
is the art of going.