It’s Saturday, but I am working on a post for Tuesday evening. Tomorrow Nathan, Sarah, and I are heading to New York City for a couple of days. We planned this trip around the Dramatic Adventure Theatre Travelogue. I want to share something on that day, so I thought I would write something new and have it post around the same time I would be sharing (if I don’t chicken out). Here we go:
Whenever anyone asks me about the best part of my experience in Slovakia travelling with Dramatic Adventure Theatre, I find myself talking about our day with the Roma. The extreme disparity between the Slovak attitude toward these people, and the warmth of our reception still intrigues me. The eye-opening experience of walking through the mud and debris of the Roma settlement after seeing the beauty and elegance of other parts of the country will live in my memory for a long time. These thoughts have inspired me as I approach writing my first novel for adults, a novel which (I believe) will explore the perception of difference that connects and divides us all.
The moment in the middle of the drama workshop where I realized that the power of imagination and theatre works in every culture, reinforced something I have always felt. The moment when I led the workshop and lived up to the challenge made me finally acknowledge, “Hey, I really do know my stuff.” Those moments helped me take steps back toward confidence.
Despite all that, the truth is that the day with the Roma was not the best part of the experience. It is simply the easiest part of the story to share. It is, in some ways, the most obvious point of inspiration. However, for me the best part began simply with the decision to go.
For many people, travel is a form of escape out of their real lives. For others, travel is about experiencing adventure and risking new things. For some it is about meeting new people and learning about other cultures. For me, it is all of those things and none of those things at the same time. I am not really an adventurous traveler. I prefer to walk in company then alone. I like the quieter moments of travel, as opposed to the wild night life or taking risks.
But, while I may not be the most adventurous traveler, each journey I take fills an unexpressed need, because each time I travel in a place unfamiliar to me I also make an inner journey of self-discovery. I learn more about myself and the connections I have with others. I face the opposites inside myself; things I should be proud of and things I strive to change.
When I travel, I come closer to my truths.
What did I learn on this trip?
- I learned that I have hidden reserves of strength that can help me achieve my goals as long as I move at my own pace.
- I learned that there is no shame in moving at my own pace and occasionally admitting I need help.
- I learned that I am a complete idiot when trying to function on a couple of hours of sleep, and you should never trust a tired Lisa with bus money. (So embarrassing!)
- I learned that, despite the fact that I may not be living the life I expected, others see my life as one full of adventure and success.
- I learned the value of being sensitive to others when you travel, or you might come off as an aggressive tourist no matter how good your intentions.
- I learned the joy of creating bonds with fellow travelers who believe in making connections and art, not war.
- I learned the value of quiet time in front of a fire, with nothing but yourself, your journal, and the crackle of the flames.
- I learned that I am more than my roles in life.
- I learned the joy of eating bryzna halusky on a snowy winter’s day.
- I learned that laughter and silliness connects people as quickly as sharing intimate secrets.
Most of all, I learned that the best and most inspiring part of the journey is the journey itself.