It is easier to know where you want to go when you know where you are from.
Certain people are energized by going out, being around people, and experiencing new things. I have never really been one of those types of people. While I enjoy the company of certain people and like having done new and different things, the stimulation also drains me. It is when I can withdraw and process the experiences I have had that I truly find value and meaning in them.
Some experiences, however, are so profound and so life-changing that I cannot help but to be overwhelmed by them with pure joy and amazement. Visiting the land of my ancestors with my wife and daughter was one of those times. I knew, down to the essence of my being, that this moment I was in was special, to be cherished, and to be appreciated for what it was, with all distractions, prejudices, and anxieties pushed aside. It was transcendent and, as with all such experiences, I was transformed by it, walking away an entirely different person, unable to go back to who I was, or thought I was, prior to that moment.
As I write this, I find myself longing for another life-changing travel experience. While that is on the horizon, I am reminded of the blessings in my life right now. With as hectic and fast-paced as my life has been in recent years, I am occasionally able to find the time to get out with my wife and my daughter to enjoy a simple lunch and perhaps a coffee and a pastry. We are able to be together and to transcend who we were just a moment prior, becoming new together with a clearer focus on who and where we want to be.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Kogen Dojo