A Bit of Personal Reflection
I do not deal well with crowds and it is always a challenge for me to find a place of mental calm when faced with a mass of people and perceived pandemonium. I have meltdowns - Caffrey says I look and act like a cat thrown into bathwater, clearly out of my element. I am trying to tame this character flaw because travel involves cities and unforeseen events.
So far, the only thing that soothes this wild kitty is running. I NEED that time and space to focus, breathe, and find my center in order to deal with the day's onslaught of human interaction. It makes the crucial difference between hissing and purrrrrring. I have discovered in our travels that it's actually not always possible to just tie my sneakers and head out the door. In urban centers like Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai, finding any personal space at all can be a challenge.
I mention this personal little ditty because our Round the World journey is not an extended vacation; it's a purposeful effort to better understand ourselves (aka "mid life reflection"). I am sometimes bewildered by my inability to control my emotions. In Ninh Binh, Vietnam, for example, I expected -- I WANTED -- a peaceful, idyllic rural sojourn into the pages of National Geographic, but the reality (a mob of Tet-celebrating Vietnamese) was different. I struggled to reconcile the gap between expectation and actuality. I didn't just struggle; I failed. I was angry...for two full days (until I could drain my emotions with a heart-pumping RUN). And my mood was palpable. We were sharing a boat with a family of four and I could feel my negative disposition sour their holiday joy. I wanted these feelings to go away; I wanted to smile; I wanted to just accept the present condition. But I couldn't. I could not just "wish" bad feelings away. I had to physically run to make myself a better person.
We are about to head to India, where I am highly doubtful that the urban congestion and oppressive heat will be conducive to running. How will I cope? I don't know yet...