Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Traveling Mindscape - The Flow of Travel & Time

There are times when the afternoon feels impossibly long.
And there are times when the last week passes by with the blink of a eye.

There are times when the morning seems as if it will never end and the thought of both lunch and breakfast seem infinitely far away.

And there are times when the previous month is merely a blur of distinct visions.

There are times when, lying in bed at the end of the day, the memories of the past day couldn't possibly reside within the time bounds of 24 hours.

And there are times when, after being back home in Denver, we wonder if the past year ever actually happened.

Somehow all these aspects of time make sense.
A long afternoon - in the best way possible
Ever since I've read Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, I've been fascinated by the aspect of the mind state of flow. It's a state were time loses it’s meaning; individual mastery of an activity is critical; and the mind and body get lost in an activity or space that causes everything else to be blocked out.

This is where we have found ourselves over the past year. When life was at it's best, somehow an hour would seem like a day and a minute would take forever.

The aspect of time has an elastic bound which previously I’m not sure I've really had the opportunity to experience. Days walking and sitting on the beach somehow seemed to last forever. Hours wandering around foreign neighborhoods somehow transported us into a time warp where women still washed their laundry by hand, men still worked the fields with their backs and children still ran around naked in the yard smiling and laughing as they chased the chickens around the yard.
Time has a tendency to stand still in many places in the world
It’s one of the aspects of traveling that I didn't ever expect to find but once I did, I looked for it wherever I was. And it’s one of those things that you can’t look for; you just have to take a moment to stop and appreciate it.

Over the past year there were moments when we'd look at the clock and say to ourselves, “There’s no way that it’s only 10:30 in the morning! I feel as if we've already had a full day of activity!” Moments when, in the middle of a leisurely lunch, you consider just how much you have to look forward to for the rest of the day. Moments when you are walking down the street and all of your senses are exploding because everything is so new that a minute can seem like a life time and a moment can seem like an eternity.
Somehow the minutes go slowly at this altitude
A friend once told me that there were two types of people in the world. The first type get energized by walking down a foreign street, their senses bombarded by new sights, sounds and smells; their comfort zone shattered by the newness and the pulse of the experience energizing your soul. The second type expended energy to get through the exotic experience. It left them drained, tired, exhausted and longing for home. It’s an interesting differentiation and neither is right. But it's clear which side of the equation Kate and I fall on.

And it was in that time and space of long term travel, of exploring new and distant lands, that the aspect of flow was most easy for me to fall into.

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