Friday, December 19, 2008

Are We There Yet: The Distance to Adventure

Yesterday was my first normal day of sleep-wake cycles after a fort'night of working overnight. Although I did have some time to sleep between midnight and 6AM I still ended up sleeping away part of the day, and I can say that I didn't get out much (That may have also been in part due to the cold that I just wrote about in my last posting).

All that captivity thrust my thoughts to previous trips to far-flung places. Those kind of thoughts in the depths of winter can really tarnish a view of the here and now. It was that wish for a better place that caused me to remember Alain de Botton's 2002 book 'The Art of Travel'.

I read the book about 4 years ago, well before I knew I would be coming to Winnipeg; a city that causes the most hearty person to think if desert islands and steamy jungles (my skin could use that kind of humidity right now!). The book is a philosopher's look at the phenomenon of travel and points out some interesting things.

The chapter that I was thinking about recaps the idea of the fictional Duc des Esseinte, who after traveling far and wide, decided that staying home and imagining a trip is just as good. Now that the economy is changing in a way that may constrain our travel budgets I think this may describe a lot of people's travel itinerary.

On my drive up Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg these thoughts made me turn my head left and right. I started to realize that I had been missing some of the beauty contained within this city. And I think that's the danger of the ability to travel, and also the danger of staying put for too long. I had failed to see the interesting achitecture at the corner of Portage and Sherbrook (Manitoba Telephone Building). Had I really appreciated the angular forms of a billboard at Portage and Colony atop the closed surplus store, thrusting themselves into the clear blue sky? Had the condensation spewing from the many buildings south of my apartment given me any moment for pause as it was lit up by the pink hues of dawn?

So, that being said, I'm leaving town tomorrow for Phoenix, a striking city. But when I come back I plan on appreciating what's at my doorstep.

I also plan on writing a bit more about medicine. I have some ideas about responsibility versus pride and about failure. I also have a series of posts on a venture I'm entering that I've been saving. I may start posting them early in the new year. It's an interesting story of chance meetings and eye openings!

Seasons Greetings to all!

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