Sunday, October 13, 2013

#109: Be Away "Relive it often"

This is the third post in a series about lessons learned being away from home.

The friend I travelled with this summer to Turkey and Croatia reminded me recently about our goat. Our goat? I wondered, straining to remember. What goat? And then it clicked... our goat! The goat on the little island of Hvar, just off the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, in the Adriatic Sea! Every morning, we pulled our tired, under slept bodies out of our lavendar-themed apartment, down the winding, dirt path that led us to the little town, where we'd stock up on pastries and fill up on hot cappuccino. (I know, right?) And every morning, the dirt path would lead is past a small, urban pasture where a lone goat stood, tied up a few metres from his little shack-like home. On our last morning in Hvar, as we schlepped our backpacks and belongings down the hill to the ferry terminal, we couldn't find him. We momentarily worried about his fate, and whether his value had shifted from milk to meat. But we soon spied his beady eyes peering at us from over the door of his little shack. He was safe. Relieved, we said our good-byes, and took the ferry back to the mainland, eager to move on to the next adventure.

How had I forgotten about him? I worry that if my friend hadn't reminded me, I would never have recalled our cloven-hoofed friend. The status quo had pulled me in so quickly after I got back home (I went directly to Washington, DC for a work conference), that I hadn't had the opportunity to spend days reliving my trip in my memory or in conversation. Just recently, an old friend who I had met for coffee asked me to tell her all about my trip. I rejoiced at the opportunity to look back on those short two weeks, and noticed my spirits slowly lifting as I elaborated on each adventure. My friend and I were away only two weeks, but I had been home long enough to archive, and eventually forget, the memories of each day.

Last night I got a text from my friend reminding me our visit to Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. We had waited in a mile-long line-up to get in, endured the sun, the heat, the gall of other tourists who boldly butted the line, and paid the exorbitant costs of getting in. The exquisitely tiled Harem, with all the stories of the women, heirs and Sultans who had passed through, was worth every penny, but like our goat, that day was forgotten to me until she reminded me. So, I relived it with her. Remember that jerk in front of us who butted, and how we didn't have the guts to say anything? Remember how I almost walked into the mosque during prayer and the security guard had to stop me? Remember how we weren't allowed in the treasury because our shoulders weren't covered? Remember walking to the Grand Bazaar after, and how exhausted we were?
Me out front of the Harem, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul.

Similar to the lesson I learned about doing more than just seeing, this lesson is about the intangible part of travelling. Not the souvenirs you bring home, not the badge of success that "I travelled to such-and-such," and not the pictures you take, but the memories you accumulate. Luckily for me, those memories of my Turkey-Croatia 2013 are housed in two minds; mine and my friend's. And I jump at every opportunity to relive those moments with her, and experience the fleeting joy that comes with remembering a happy memory I couldn't retrieve on my own. Like the memory of the sweaty, dirt path that guided us to cappuccino and pastries each morning in Hvar, and our dear friend the goat, who gave us a chuckle along the way.

1 comment:

  1. :) I like that - my husband and I do the same thing for one another. ~Catherine