Traveling Light – Part 3

The example at the Feast of Lights, of a single candle burning in the dark whose flame then passes to others and so on until the whole of the space is illuminated, is much the same as with our trips. Each trip starts as a singular event, complete in of itself, much like that single candle. But then, it becomes much more.

Each trip is like one of these flames, burning on its own but illuminating much more

I remember a trip as a kid where we visited the Shasta Caverns in Northern California. At one point, deep in these caves, our guide warned us that he was about to turn off the lights. And so he did. He then informed us that we stood in total darkness with no possible trace of light. And so we did.

It’s a rather eerie sense, not because it is all that much darker than the darkest night or a room with no windows, but because of the realization of complete absence. We inherently fear most not what we don’t have, but what we do have that we might lose. This explains in part why sightless people when surveyed on average are willing to pay much less to regain their sight than sighted people are to prevent losing theirs. Thus, it wasn’t so much the dark that was unnerving as the removal of the light.

Then, as we were all getting sufficiently spooked out by the absolute gloom engulfing us, our guide lit a match. In a well lit room, you will barely note the light created by a match. In our dark cavern, however, that one small flame seemed like a 500 watt bulb. So much light from such a small, singular source.

And so it is with our trips. Each trip – even a short day excursion to a place a few miles from home – can encompass more than you would think. And like the match in a bright room, comparisons to the exotic destinations of other travelers may not seem to fare well. But that doesn’t matter: the experience of your trip – no matter where or for how long – is yours. As such, it blazes at the time like the match in the cave and enlightens your memories from that point on.

The best part is that none of our experiences stand alone. We do not live our trips – even solo ventures – in isolation. Like the candles at the Feast of Lights, each passes to the next, one trip building on another. Over time, a singular event leads to another and so on until we look back and come to an enlightening realization: all our trips are more than individual travel experiences.

They have become the building blocks of who we are. We are ablaze with the cumulative experience of all we have seen and become as a result.


If you haven’t read them yet, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

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