Lessons of the Road

p4058063-editI am back from my vacation, and it was the shortest vacation in the history of holidays. We spent more time on the road than at our destination. Let’s just say crazy things happened to cut it short, and leave it at that. I’ve always seen traveling as a necessary evil, and the only thing that really makes a place work for me is the people. And the one thing that makes a place not work for me is, well, once again, the people. I learned some lessons from this trip:

  • The best vacations can be at home, with the computer turned off and a good book to cozy up with.
  • There is nothing like a relaxing 5 days at home to fix my sleeping schedule.
  • Family members playing mind games help put life, indeed your own life, into perspective.
  • When something doesn’t feel right, leave. Knowing when to quit does not just make you a quitter, it makes you a wise quitter. There might be fewer pictures to show for the quitting, but at least you don’t have to be put on tranquilizers or a suicide watch to reach a normal state of mind.
  • Driving for twenty-five hours, peering this way and that for traffic cops, is nothing compared to being put through the mental and emotional wringer for 5 hours.

My mother reminded me of an anecdote of Sayyidina Umar رضي الله عنه in which someone told him that so and so was a really wonderful person. To that, Sayyidina Umar رضي الله عنه responded to the effect of, “If you have not traveled with him or done business with him, then you have no idea how wonderful he really is.” And of course, we should not speak of that which we do not know. Alhamdulillah, I had the best of traveling companions in my mother and siblings. And that really made the long and lonely roads so much easier to bear.

That was my vacation. I have been soaking up the comfort and peace of my bedroom for the better part of the last week, and hopefully the only other place I ever go again will be Hajj or Umrah. This vacation completely killed the desire for any more travel, near or distant. Vacations aren’t about a destination, they are about peace of mind. I’m fortunate to be able to attain quite a bit of peace of mind in my own home. No need to get all greedy and attempt to find it elsewhere as well!

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11 Responses to Lessons of the Road

  1. Ajla says:

    Hmm. I knew something was wrong when you guys just suddenly returned. Feels weird reading the post, knowing I can’t possibly understand what happened, because it seems a lot happened… It’s also fascinating, isn’t it, how much a trip, long or short, can change you or what it can teach you.

    It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. 😉

  2. Ajla, I bet it does feel weird reading this post and not knowing what all happened. Suffice to say, I barely know what happened, and still feel a sense of surrealism. haha in this case, it was about the destination and the journey. But yeah…love that quote 😛

  3. Hey Salaams!
    First of all, glad to hear you are back, and to true form have posted something which my mind into thinking mode!

    Without the knowledge of what your trip was about and what you experienced, I guess my comments may be naive in nature, nevertheless – i’m gonna tell ya my thoughts! 😀

    I totally agree with your bullet points! We had a 4 day weekend, and as much as I wanted to re-charge my batteries, I was on the road and amongst family – which is a headache and a half to manage on the best of days. So many chiefs, so many opinions, so many egos – knowing when to leave is the true “victory” in “conflicting” situations.

    Saying that, I disagree with something you mentioned (I may be reading too deeply into this – if I am, then I appologise 🙂 ); I think travelling is a very good experience, quite important sometimes actually. One learns about society and cultures when you travel. Moreover, you learn about your own society, your own cultures and traditions when you travel back home. I am a strong believer in my roots, and whenever I am in India (not often enough unfortunately), I have spent a lot of time in the environment where my grandparents grew up, where my dad grew up; I have learnt about the traditions of my region by observing people, and I am confident I can pass that on to those around me.

    Reading the end of your post kinda says a little about this experience – it may not have been the greatest, but never say never my friend, you never know what experience life may dish out on the road. 🙂

    Look forward to the pics!

  4. Wasalaam 🙂 Your thoughts, while without full knowledge of all that went on, are all the same not naive at all. I think we did attain true victory…I said I’d leave when things got out of control, and leave I did. Nothing quite like keeping a promise. Re: traveling exposing us to societies and cultures in a way that books and videos really cannot, true. Too true. At the end of the day, though, if the travel comes with oh-so-avoidable misery, then I’d rather stay home. I say this, of course, with a certain sense of pique. Although this journey wasn’t the placid, uneventful holiday I had naively envisioned, it taught me way more than sitting at home would have and I am in a very odd sense grateful for that. I also know, on the other hand, that dammit I could have learned this lesson much less expensively. I could have bought a newer camera with the money! I could have bought an elliptical machine for that kind of money!

    Or perhaps it was as simple a matter as choosing my destination more wisely. There’s me taking back my never! 🙂

    • Your english is way better than mine – I had to open a dictionary for ‘pique’ (I read it as pee-kay, atleast thats the spanish pronunciation) 😛

      I guess I understand your experience; the philosophy could be down the lines of prevention is better than cure! Saying that, there is no substitute to experience – good or bad; there will always be an opportunity for a better camera (inshallah), but you are also a lot more wiser a week down the line. Personally, the latter is my preference. 🙂

  5. mems says:

    “The best vacations can be at home, with the computer turned off and a good book to cozy up with.”

    This bookworm couldn’t agree more.

    “Vacations aren’t about a destination, they are about peace of mind. I’m fortunate to be able to attain quite a bit of peace of mind in my own home.”

    Sooo true. But the tiny little greedy person within me can’t help thinking destinations are icing on the cake. And boy, does she like her icing.

  6. CM, wiser is giving me white hairs! And honestly, I won’t be needing that camera if I ain’t going anywhere 😆 And finally, this experience was liberating in ways I could never have dreamed…so really, truly, no regrets. Alhamdulillah.

    mems, Can I interest you in Black Forest Cake with tons of whipped cream? 😛

  7. realistic bird says:

    Salaam,

    Welcome back sis! You were missed. Sorry to hear the vacation wasn’t as you expected but alhamdulilah it wasn’t a total miss as you said you learned something.

    Looking back I’ve had some very bad holidays once stranded in the middle of nowhere in another country but whenever I think of it though I was fuming when it happened I laugh at it now; it is part of my life experience and that quote is spot on if you travel with someone you find a lot about them. 😀

    P.S: Try the apricot cake, one weird combination that works.

    • Oh, my…now stranded in the middle of nowhere sounds like fun! (Only if there are good pictures to take there! 😀 )

      I am going to give that apricot cake a try, just as soon as we get some dried apricots and apricot nectar. *jots those down on grocery list*

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