Just finished reading Grounded by Seth Stevenson. It is classified as a travel book, but it could be considered philosophical (depending on your state of mind). He and his girlfriend, Rebecca quit their very good jobs and decide to circumnavigate the globe in 6 months. This is the kind of book that gets you thinking about your day-to-day lives. It makes you think “what if” I did something as outrageous as quitting my job; taking my savings; and, traveling around the world. What if… I quit my job and spent my savings on getting a new degree to start a new career. What if… I [ fill in the blank].
The last time I read a book like this was probably thirty years ago and it was A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, which was a best seller at the time and is still being sold. Both of these authors do things that the average mortal only dreams about. From time to time, most of us fantasize about doing something totally out of the box, but then we wake up and go about our daily, ordinary lives. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ordinary, but a friend just reminded me that it’s okay to want to live an extraordinary life. Extraordinary comes with risks and I guess that’s part of the excitement. In Seth’s final chapter, when he is recounting their return to the US, he says “We’re back in America, and there’s not a ton of mystery or challenge left.”
That’s what I feel in my day-to-day… no mystery or challenge, and that feeling makes me uncomfortable. I should be ecstatic to have an easy, uncomplicated, predictable life without stress or strain. I have an incredible husband that women would die for. We have a comfortable home, nice cars and all the accoutrements. Then Seth said something that struck home. He categorized travelers into three groups, and I would fit into the category of the “restless wanderer” with a gossamer tether to home.
It turns out that the title of his book represents what I am feeling… Grounded. Unlike Seth and Rebecca, I can’t just settle back down now after tasting the travel bug, because my time is limited (i.e., I’m a bit older… quite a bit). On the other hand, maybe I’ll create mystery and challenge in my current day-to-day.