In late November and early December, I did my first around-the-world trip, Australia-Poland-US-Australia. Two weeks, 7 flights, 60 hours of travel time.
Simple outcome: I learned a decent amount about others and myself.
Snow! Made the whole trip worthwhile. Walking on the frozen ground to work in the morning, even the graffiti seemed to fit into the snowscape.
I’ve been to Gdansk, Poland four times now. Three flights to get there, about 34.5 hours from leaving Manly Beach to arriving at the corporate apartment. This was by far the best trip, although I didn’t see Malbork Castle, or even visit Old Town once. I simply focused on the purpose of my trip. I knew the grocery store well enough to buy the right foods, and every morning, a prison-cell workout (confined space), two breakfasts, and I was ready to start the day. As long as I wasn’t at work, if my body said “I want to sleep,” I slept. No attempt to adjust to time zone, just let it happen.
I constantly fill my time with too much. On this visit, I said “No” more than “Yes”, and ended up healthier and happier. Go figure.
Time with family
I really love my family. Seriously – ignore the facial expression. And Mom was actually awake at dinner. Promise.
Thanks to the Lufthansa strike, there was a small ripple of early morning chaos, but the airlines and one of my co-workers had smoothed everything out. I visited Copenhagen for the first time, but only to go from one gate to another in the airport.
Landing in DC, I spent the weekend in Stafford, Virginia, with the largest collection of my immediate family. My sister’s family and my mom both live there, and two of my nephews returned for the weekend. Every single minute there is great: helping Mom grocery shop, walk in a nearby park with my sister, a dinner out.
While home is Australia, where my sister lives will always be a place that’s special to me.
Power to the people. Her sweatshirt reads “Health Care not Warfare.”
Desperately seeking difference
I’ve always worried that in a different time, I would have let tyranny happen, or even worse. I’ve never been drawn to protest or to activism. What would it take to get me out of work, off the bike, out of the pool, and into the streets. Well, it turns out, Trump.
There had been protests in SF, and I was hoping I could join in while I was in SF. Honestly, I am probably not politically aligned with most of the folks who would be in an SF protest, but part of what I wanted to do was expose myself (ahem) to people with different thoughts, different opinions, and actually listen. I’ve been barking for years about how neither side of the fence actively listens to the other (I know from experience, having been someone for years who could only absorb arguments that agreed with me). Selection bias is alive and possibly more powerful than ever.
Alas, no protests were scheduled (turns out there is an online schedule for political activism!) But there was a meeting of the Progressive Democrats of America on “the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) in a post-Trump era.” The TPP is a big deal to Australia, so I thought I could get educated and listen to people who I would never encounter on a daily basis.
After dinner, I slipped a gray wool jumper over my “I voted for Gary Johnson” t-shirt, and entered the Fireside Room at the Unitarian Church.
Progressive Democrats of America
- “Don’t use Google” (because of their support of the mainstream Democratic party, I think). Sorry, still going to Google stuff.
- “Trumps victory was a movement victory, not a campaign victory.” Groups of people do take independent action, that campaigns cannot withstand.
- “Boycott Wells Fargo” – as it’s backing the Dakota pipeline project. I don’t know if I’ll cancel my account today, but I will register my opinion with my bank and make sure they understand it makes them a less desirable option.
The Digital millennium copyright act failed in Congress, but similar agreements were then snuck into trade agreements, meaning our democratic process is being circumvented.
Non partisan partisans
I arrived home better than I left – an unusual event, and even more surprising given that I didn’t stay in a single time zone longer than six full days, and that I had circumnavigated the earth.
Looking back on the trip – there’s a lot of goodness. I accepted my own limits. I listened to others to try to expand my world view. I focused on my responsibilities. I ate a lot of greek yogurt.