Two months is a good stretch of time. Few people out of high school ever have time to take a vacation that is so long, but I’ve just finished a two month stay in Menorca. It seems strange then, that my blog has contained relatively little about my time on the island. Perhaps, that it is because my time on the island was as much defined by what I didn’t do as much as what I did.
While in Menorca I didn’t go shopping or go to work. I didn’t watch TV or go to the movies. I barely drank and never smoked. I didn’t go to wild parties, in fact I didn’t go to any parties and hardly even socialized. I didn’t have any wild adventures or bizarre experiences. In short, I did very little that makes for compelling storytelling or reading. For most people, the hour they spend at the gym is the hour they get away from it all and have a moment of peace. In Menorca, it was my hour of excitement.
What is left when one strips the veneer from life, when the activities that normally fill our time and thoughts are absent and we’re left with countless hours for contemplation and self-reflection? I imagine that question has a different answer for each of us, but the sad reality is that few of us have, or perhaps take, the time to find out.
I love traveling. I love the excitement and adventure, the meeting of new people and the discovery of new experiences, but without the periods of calm and tranquility much of that would lose it luster. In Menorca I read history books for hours, reminding myself of what makes each place I visit unique and different. I watched countless sunsets, being reminded that although museums and cathedrals are magnificent, nature offers a free and new show every night. I took photos and played guitar: it reminded me how personal achievement is vastly more satisfying than purchased entertainment. I spent time alone in piece and was reminded how much I love the company of my friends and the excitement of meeting new people.
Truth be told, I find isolation and introspection difficult. The challenge of facing my mind is no less real than the challenge of working out my body. Yet, just as with training for a triathlon, the benefits are real and worth the effort. For me, Menorca was a perfect training ground. It was beautiful, peaceful and isolated, but now the training is over and it’s time for the race.