Our remarkable poet laureate, Shannon Holman, is away in Indonesia for a few months of R&R. In the meantime, we'll be revisiting her earliest meditations. This one goes all the way back to February, 2006. Enjoy!
There are two kinds of travellers: hunters and gatherers.
Hunters seek peak experiences at the expense of personal comfort and even safety:
"It was fantastic! We trekked uphill for five days and ran out of food
Gatherers, like me, tend to domesticate our environment, collecting favorite coffeeshops, restaurants,
and walks in every locale, replicating the rhythms of home-making no matter
how far from home we go. And we tend also to bring a little totem from home
along with us--I like to think of myself as a light packer, but my slippers
always make it in the carry-on.
The trouble with making yourself at home everywhere is that you can end up
feeling homesick for every place you've ever been. My morning tea
shop in Yangon, the backstreets shortcut to my favorite park
in Bangkok, the sublime noodle
stand in Savannakhet, the world's best muffaletta
in Lafayette: I miss them all....
Here's what's important in this
world: people, places, and things--and in that order. But people can
be photographed and emailed and Skyped. Things are useful as mnemonics, but
best when useful also in themselves (so I sleep under Laotian blankets, store
my unmentionables in a Burmese basket, and scribble in a Thai notebook). But
how do you capture the sense of a place and bring it to another place? You can't.
Bangkok air is a heady and not altogether pleasant amalgam of diesel, jasmine,
and chilis, and it can't be bottled and shipped. Jets
notwithstanding, the world is still large.
(RePublished from 2006-02-04 - MGR)