Masters of the Dance


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2 May, 1999 San Francisco
I returned home a week earlier than planned, to everyone's surprise, but it was a welcome return. One week later, I was hired back to the same contract as I left back in December (for more money). I settled into my new apartment, and I was back into my old life. This is beginning to become a welcome routine. Get restless, leave, travel for a few months, and hit the ground running when I get back.

This wasn't one of my more enjoyable trips, but I think I'm getting more out of them now. Since I've been home, I've been back out dancing salsa in clubs. I try speaking Spanish from time to time to people I've met. I have learned more about a new region of the planet.

Besides, it's nice now that I've been to all six populated continents. OK, partly for brag value, but also for understanding. Each time I go someplace new, I learn more about people. When I was younger, I was a locksmith, a carpenter, a waiter, a caddy, now I'm an engineer. I've grown up middle-class, slept on the streets, lived like a rich man, and starved like a street person, even in passing. Each time, I learned more about people. The same thing happens each time I try a new culture. Now, I know, I've only had a taste of what South America contains, but a taste can still fill your head with images and emotions, memories and dreams, that draw you onward. A taste can determine if you screw your face up with disgust and never try again, or put a thoughtful (or delighted) expression on, and say, maybe... India affected me that way, and I will be back. The little bit of South America I tried was the same. Sort of like the cervaza ice cream I tried in Merida. Sweet, and yet with an edge that could either turn bitter or tasty. Enough that I will be back, and next time, I will go in with more of an understanding of what I'm in for. But, I'm writing this at 2:00 AM, and I should go to bed now. All in the life of a traveller...

The future? Well, as I said last year, Ireland still beckons, and my old bicycle that many times carried me around Europe and has more miles on it than my car is starting to grumble a little now that the backpack has been getting so many miles on it. After that, who knows, but I promise, the only thing constant here is change, so something will come up when the time is right.

For now, the most important lesson I have learned from my travels is that you must take back what you have experienced on the road, and fit it into your day-to-day life. Not to do this will lead to depression, and general discontent until the next time you travel. But to live each day as if you are on the road, that path leads to some dangerous fun and interesting encounters. So the next travels I do will most likely be tomorrow, taking a walk out to a new part of this city that I have yet to experience. I might experience a cold blast of wind off the Pacific, perhaps wander through exquisite gardens, eat some tasty Thai food for lunch, take a walk in the forest, and enjoy a good pint at the pub down the street. The only thing that makes this day different than one on the road is my mind and my attitude. And that mind is free.

The End

Enough for now. Once more, this story is complete. As usual, I hope you enjoyed reading it. And even if you haven't, I've had a good time telling it. :-)


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