Surrendering and Gathering: Tanzania

What are you willing to surrender on your journey? Can you leave your piano at home? Your dog Spot? Your golf clubs? The familiar foods? The TV? The hundreds of things that define our lives at home. What will you leave behind if anything? Some folks travel in a big 50 foot RV, with a car trailing behind, and others with a tooth brush and a comb. We travel with far less, but far more than when we were kids.

            This is the task… what do we surrender and what do we let go?

Traveling is always the balance surrendering and gathering. Putting aside our cell phones and all that social chattering.  But we do travel with our computers and cameras, and try to stay away from this obsessive FB and Social media stuff.  In the journey how do we stay present with the world around us? How do we surrender the known and familiar?  How do we venture and open ourselves to the new experiences, unprejudiced, and unfettered by our past?  The Zen beginner mind. Knowledgeable and unfettered by bias?

            How do we bring that awareness and acumen back with us? Does our travel deepen our understanding of the world? Does it increase our understanding of ourselves?

Traveling is that fine line between gathering places we’ve traveled to like a check list of all the places, villages, forests, cathedrals we’ve traveled to so that we are gathering experiences that most deeply touches us. Even in something as familiar as Paris, how do we find the extraordinary moments in the common event?  In Paris last May, we were at a classical music concert at Sainte- Chappelle, the Blue Chapel, one of the truly extraordinary transcendent moments. Even the somewhat prosaic and overplayed Vivaldi “Four Seasons,” sounded as fresh as when it was first conceived.

In our travels how do we surrender our expectations, surrender our cell phones, surrender the tour guides and simply allow yourself to be lost in enchantment. Even in the places that are on the familiar tourist trails of say Italy, France or a place near home… How do we find those moments of enchantment?  Perhaps, late at night, when all the crowds have disappeared from San Marco square, allow yourself to get lost.  Venice is safe and in reality difficult to get lost in. Frequently, you can easily get displaced.  The surprise of travel!

            On our trip, I give a shirt and sandals to a friend, guitar strings to a needy musician, and most importantly, I gladly surrender the familiar routine of our daily life. We forget our favorite coffee, foods, and accept what is served.  And instead enjoying delicious vegetable stews and soups. As vegetarian and gluten free, we find our niche, and people are gracious. We are weird in the west with all of our food stuff….allergies and such. Most people, here and around the world, are just grateful to eat. The simpler the food, rice and vegetables, is a feast.

            We gather such richness on our journey here. A brief understanding of the vast savannahs of Masai Mara.  The incredible diversity of this land with all the Zebras, lions, wildebeest and more. But perhaps, simply to enjoy meeting people, playing music together, and like last night jamming with our young Tanzanians on Jambo/ Jambo Bwana

            Traveling is the constant dance between surrendering and gathering. Today, we will be gathering the Serengeti. A place of our fantasy and dreams since we were kids. Though we will not be there during the enormous Great Migration of animals in the summer time during the July to September period, we will be there with fresh insight and an open mind.

            Between surrender and gathering we venture forward with our day.

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