November 2012

Traveling small

by Steve Brock on November 30, 2012

In thinking about the reasons why we travel, it strikes me how different our reasons for travel are today versus in the past. We travel mostly for work or for pleasure these days. As a result, our scope of thinking about travel has narrowed. The noble quest that consumed months or years of one’s life has become more of a vagabond’s wanderings. The pilgrimage that cost us more than just the extended time of being on the road has been reduced to a one to two week missions trip or volunteer vacation.

So just as I was thinking that we’ve lost the “bigness” of travel, the epic or heroic nature of it, I came across this short blog post on Spain-based photographer Alejandro Ferrer Ruiz’s exquisite macro (close-up) photography. In this case, it’s a visual essay on ladybugs in the rain.

These beautiful images remind me, once again, that beauty and wonder and discovery are all about us. We don’t always have to go far or even go “big.” Sometimes much of what we travel for lies in the small revelations that are ours to experience if we have but eyes (or in this case, the photographic lens!) to see them.

I don’t want to give up on the big quests. I think we need such journeys to pull us out of ourselves and become more than we are currently. But those big trips tend to be few and far between. In the meantime, we can learn to see – and appreciate – the small journeys available right where we live.

You can view more of Alejandro’s close-up work here:

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When the new is not enough

by Steve Brock on November 22, 2012

One of the reasons why we travel is for novelty and surprise, to see and experience what we’ve never known experientially before.

All good.

Until you reach a point where novelty overwhelms or, conversely, everything starts looking the same. Ever been there?

In that case, it’s time to go home.

Or else realize that deep satisfaction comes from more than what is new and surprising.


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Why we travel

by Steve Brock on November 13, 2012

Here’s a simple way of looking at the not-so-simple topic of why we travel.

What follows is my sketched infographic on the subject. If you want a more articulate version, check out one of my favorite articles on the subject by Pico Iyer.

The “from” and “to” is pretty self-explanatory.

The approach we take to travel, however, is more complex. I’ve found that many times I look to travel for escape. I run from one thing to find another. I tell myself and others I am living in the moment and “seizing the day.” I choose to ignore the desperate tone in which I say this.

In traveling this way, I sometimes find what I seek. Sometimes I find something else. But I never outrun myself. As the saying goes, “No matter where you go, there you are.” My inner life sticks to me like mud in my sole. What I run from is rarely geographically bound.

An alternative approach is what I refer to as “traveling expectantly.” With this approach, I go on a divine scavenger hunt, a quest for the little clues God leaves all over the place if I have but eyes to see. When I travel with the expectation that God will show up, it changes my whole attitude and approach to travel.

I look and listen more carefully. I’m more present. And best of all, all those things I’m running from? I don’t notice them. I’m too busy looking for hidden treasure in the most unlikely of places.

The “from’s” and “to’s” may look the same in terms of the reasons why we travel. But whether or not we achieve what we seek depends greatly on how we travel.

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Top 5 life lessons from mountain biking – Part 5

by Steve Brock November 7, 2012

Even if you have no interest in mountain biking, if you’re no longer a kid, you likely need this reminder about the importance of playing.

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Top 5 life lessons from mountain biking – Part 4b

by Steve Brock November 1, 2012

Bike riding, travel and life all reveal that balance may not be all we think it is. There might just be a better approach to pursue than balance. What is it?

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