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Real Dreams August 19, 2010

Posted by Ethan Craig in Travel Log.
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It’s strange. The first night home, as I lay in bed waiting for sleep, I was afraid that when I awoke, I would find that it had all been a dream. That I had not traveled the European continent, ridden trains, climbed mountains, slept on park benches and grown in more ways than I could have expected. But the next morning, I woke up and my memories were in fact real; I had hiked through forests, trained across the country through the night and had the greatest adventure of my young life. I mentioned that I felt that I’ve grown a lot. I can’t help feeling old; the knees are sore and hips are creaking. But beyond the physical trivialities that go along with aging, the way I think, feel and believe has developed into something, dare I say it, more mature than before. I’ve learned more about myself and the world I’m apart of in the last twelve months than the last twelve years. It’s interesting to compare our lives to that of Europeans. Something an Uncle and I discussed was the difference between ‘standard of living’ and ‘quality of life.’ Just because one of those is high does not mean the other is as well. Too often we search for the newer, bigger, more flashy item to put in our houses and never use. We have more but enjoy it less. In contrast, this summer I met people that took great pleasure in the little things they had; whether it was an artistic talent, a family restaurant, or small shop. They seem to have less but enjoy it more.  I hope that this is something that I can do; to have less and enjoy more. I understand that these are broad generalizations but it is just what I noticed in passing.

As I sit here, finally back on campus, sipping sweet tea and hiding from the heat, I’m amazed at what I’ve done in the last year. If you had asked me at this time what I would have do in the next twelve months, there is no way I could have come close. The opportunities that Tech has given me have led me to so many great places, ie Europe. I’ve acquired so many treasures; not souvenirs but memories. When I take a sharp turn when driving, it takes me back to the Swiss Alps as we cared through the Valleys in a rented car; when I shiver from cold at night, it makes me think of sleeping in the forest at the foot of mountain with nothing but a towel to keep me warm; when I’m about to fall asleep at night, it reminds me that tomorrow I could wake up anywhere.

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