Why are we going on a six week trip to Panama? This is a question that could take pages to answer. In future posts, I’ll go into more detail about how we came to the decision to leave, and why we chose Panama and the length of the trip that we did. But in this post, I want to cover the benefits we hope to obtain from going.
In short, we think a trip like this will help us be more happy, well-rounded people, and grow closer together as a family. Could we become more happy, well-rounded and close without leaving home? Probably. So why take the trip? This was the debate that went on in my mind for some time.
I made a long list of concerns and benefits and pondered them for days. But after discussing this list with Jen, she simply said, “You don’t even know if any of your benefits or concerns are valid until you get there and try it out.” And since we were both in the mood for a change and an adventure, we decided to take the opportunity while we had it!
Now, this trip didn’t initially start out as a plan to take a six week vacation somewhere in the world. We wanted to experience “living” somewhere with a contrasting culture, a different language, and different geography. We wanted to broaden our horizons, and escape the monotony we were feeling in our every day lives. We wanted to get out of our comfort zones to learn and explore, and grow.
But I guess we’re not the ultimate in adventurousness, because we didn’t just pack our bags, sell our house and move somewhere we’ve never been. We’re making it a relatively short stay, but long enough to see what it’s like to live somewhere else.
Now hold on! I’m not saying that our goal is to move to a foreign country to live our the rest of our lives – although I guess I’m not ruling that out either. We just want to see what else is out there! We want to give our kids the chance to see what people and cultures are like in other parts of the world. We want to learn new languages, meet new people, and take life at a slower and more relaxed pace than is common here in the US. And this is probably not the first of this kind of trip we’ll be taking.
Mark Twain said:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Our past vacations have been so much of rushing from one sight to the next, having every minute planned out in our on-line itinerary (since I’m that type of guy). I’m trying to make this trip different, but am finding it difficult to not plan at least one activity every day.
My greatest fear with this trip is that we’ll go and nothing will change. I’ll continue working on my laptop as I do at home, not able to get away from e-mail and other tasks (either mentally or physically), neglecting play time with my children, and not being focused on rejuvenation, personal growth, and loving every minute of whatever I’m doing. That is my challenge.
I’m hoping to use this trip as a catalyst for positive changes in my life, and in my thinking. I believe that such a dramatic change in scenery and activities will be effective in turning me off to my normal world of constant task-oriented productivity, and give me more reason to focus on times of quiet pondering, gratitude, family, God, and other areas of life that I consider more important than “working” for money. If it doesn’t work, then at least we’ll have lots of fun. :)
20 May 2016