WHY WE MUST SOMETIMES GO…
Right now I'm reading for the first time the great memoir TRACKS by Robyn Davidson — a classic of both women's and Australian literature. For those of you who aren't familiar with this book, it's wonderful — the chronicle of a woman who, back in the 1970s, rode 1,700 miles all alone across the Australian Outback with three camels.
Why did she do it? What I love about this story is that she does not ever really provide a why. She did it because she needed to do it.
A lot of people told her she was crazy to set out on such a dangerous journey, and that she would probably die during it. But, Davidson recounts, she had one conversation before she left with an older female friend who told her: "I really like what you're doing…Getting off your butt and actually doing something is important for all of us…It's important that we leave each other and the comfort of it, and circle away, even though it's hard sometimes, so that we can come back and swap information about what we've learned, even if what we do changes us, and we risk not recognizing each other when we return."
THAT IS WHY WE MUST SOMETIMES GO AWAY.
Not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of each other. To model another way of being. To represent, out there in the wild world. To bring back the treasure of sharing what we have learned.
I remember the week before I went traveling for EAT PRAY LOVE, a neighbor (a mother of two young children) gave me a long hug and said into my ear, "Take me with you in spirit. Take all of us with you, who dream of someday doing this but who right now staying home and taking care of the contracts we have signed with our lives. Tell us what you find. I will follow you later."
And she did — about ten years later. At which point, I gave her that same hug and said the same words into her ear. As I have said those exact same words to countless other people, as they are about to embark on their own journey. Go away now, but take us with you in spirit; tell us what you learned when you return.
If it's time for you to go, go NOW. But take notes. Think of your journey toward self-discovery and adventure as a community service.
You'll make us all better for it,