We live in uncertain times in an uncertain world. It doesn’t take a genius to turn on the news, watch five minutes of coverage and commentary and realize that everyone is playing a little fast and loose with their language, behavior, and nuclear arsenals. In light of the current dialogue and tremendous uncertainties, it may seem like the best course of action is to stay at home, hunker down, and wait for the storm to pass. It’s safer that way, probably more comfortable too. Unfortunately it does little to open your eyes and mind to kinds of experiences and opinions and encounters that push against the fear and distrust and skepticism that we’re often fed. And it’s only pushing back against that fear and distrust that’s going to make any kind of positive difference moving forward.
I’m not a great spontaneous traveller. I like to have a lot of things planned, and as many unknowns accounted for before we go. I get anxious before the flight, and nervous about the “what ifs…” But what I am not, is afraid of the rest of the world that’s different than my own. I’m not afraid to butcher the native language trying to get out a few conversational phrases. I don’t think we can afford to be afraid of considering other perspectives, other cultures, other ideas, because I’m afraid that if we allow the current dialogue, and fear mongering, and division to define our willingness to adventure and to seek common interests, we will lose a key component of the global human spirit.
Each time I travel, I am so grateful for the amazing experiences and memories that we have, and I’m even more inspired by the amazing people meet. Despite the hate and greed and fear that we all know runs rampant in the world, this travel quickly reveals that there are good people everywhere! From the strangers that became amiable traveling companions, to the locals who volunteer to help us find our ways, to the random couples with which we’ve shared dinner tables and park benches, to the 12 wonderful people we shared wine/dinner with at “wine school”, to the lovely British “mum” who once offered me her own water bottle, and dozens of others, we have met the greatest, most interesting, most generous people while traveling. Though we’ll likely never cross paths with any of them ever again, they have repeatedly restored my faith in humanity in general! There are good people everywhere…and when you know that, the world isn’t quite as big and scary as some would have you believe!
So I encourage you to travel often. Travel far and wide. Plan it yourself, tour if you’d rather. But get out of your box. Let go of the notion that the four walls that surround your life must be the best four walls in the world. I spent most of our first trip to Europe asking, “Why don’t we do it that way in the US?” You can be proud of your country, and still wonder why it is the way it is sometimes! 😉 Have an adventure. Have experiences. And then when you come home not only will you have a wider window to look out at the world through, you may find you appreciate your own bed a little bit more too!
Wine for your weekend
Zlatan Crlenjak – Croatia
Let’s go on a wine treasure hunt! Tomorrow we’ll make port in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and of the many things I’ve learned about Croatia recently, one that interests me greatly is that it was the birthplace of Zinfandel. Zinfandel was once believed to be a strictly American variety of grape/wine. However, after a lengthy horticultural scavenger hunt, a pair of botanists discovered the original variety of grape in Croatia, where only about 25 vines still existed. Croatian winemakers took up the challenge to preserve the vines, and today almost half a million grape vines are cultivated across a region just inland of the Adriatic coast.
This is the only wine for your weekend I’ve recommended without having tried it first, so I’m not recommending it for its pairings or flavor profile, but rather for the adventure of saying you tried the true original Zinfandel, and not just the California varieties (of which I’m a big fan) which claim to be unique. Tracking a bottle down might be tricky, but if you can find one, join us in an international toast this weekend to this full bodied, “jammy” red, that’s got deeper roots than California!