There are those who love to travel and click off how many places they have been. It can become like a contest with the widely traveled feeling superior to those not so much. I have nothing against travel for others, but what I don't like about it for myself is going somewhere simply to say I've been there with no concept of what there really is like-- if I'd spent longer. I am against travel as a way to believe anyone can know a place when they have counted coup there-- especially when it impacts those who live there in ways that can prove damaging-- like elephants stampeding through villages but must remain in the area for tourists.
My interest in travel is finding soul places for me, Through reading, I've learned about how some see their soul places. My bookshelves are full of such books.
One of my favorites in this genre is Pilgrim on Tinker's Creek by Annie Dillard. This kind of experience is not so appreciated by our culture, where ADD is the name of the game for so many. You don't come to know one place by walking through it. I don't think you can do it by spending a week there and letting its energy permeate you-- but you can come closer.
On my bookshelf are many books about people like Dillard, who found that place and let it become part of their soul. One of my all-time favorite quotes, one I have long claimed for myself is in a novel I also love, Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund.
"Where we choose to be-- we have that power to determine our lives. We cannot reel time backward or forward, but we can take ourselves to the place that defines our being."She had another great quote in that book, which is also written into the beginning of a journal I was keeping at the time.
"I do not unmarry ___. But I marry myself. I take my fate as within."The question, of course, always is-- what is within? I think it's those places that have become part of our soul-- not because we barely touched ground there, but because we know them well and they are in us wherever we go. I have places like that, others where I've spent a week or less but know could also be part of me with more time. The thing is how many of them can there be that we know at a soul level?