Recently my family and I traveled to Panama City, Panama. We went to one of those beach resorts where folks talk about “relaxing” on the beach, drinking cocktails and swimming in the pool all day. And many people dream of these vacations, I guess. The hotel was a bit off the beaten path, and after two hours, my husband was going out of his mind with boredom, wondering what he was going to do for an entire week with only a swimming pool and a 1/2 mile stretch of beach to keep him occupied. At home, there are endless projects, always a windstorm, snowstorm or some sort of thing to work through, and here he couldn’t see anything to tackle, other than figuring out how to ask for a beer in Spanish, which thankfully I helped him with.
So, in our ever resourceful way, we found a guide. We hopped in his car and he took us away from the swimming pools and buffets. He took us into the city to explore, and learn about the Panamanian cultures. For two days, we explored and heard stories, and met people in the city. We ate octopus, dried coconut and learned the rules of business in Panama. We were all so pleased with the adventure each night as we made our way back to resort, knowing that we had a taste of real life.
More importantly for us, as we returned to our small home on the edge of nowhere, we have realized that while we are comfortable facing the bracing snowstorms each winter, and hauling firewood, hiking our way up to a perfect ski spot, our comfort zone is pushed in the city. It is good to be in an urban zone, in a foreign speaking land where our senses are on alert and we learn that life is not as it is in our daily world.
I think no matter where you live, it is easy to become complacent and begin to think that the world is as it is where you live. But people live and move in such diverse ways, and smiling with them in new ways adds a refreshing beauty to my life. This trip gave us this refreshing new beauty. It was lovely.