Tuesday, June 11, 2019

To be happy where you are

I have not been on multi-day cruise ship vacations.  I hope that I won't ever do it.  Or, in the worst case, it will happen way, way, way later in my life.

For one, I hate to be stuck with no exit.  It is tough enough to fly all the way to India.  In the plane for hours that feel like days!

And then the all you can eat whenever you want to eat.  A big pile of food in front of me is a huge turnoff.

The forced, staccato, conversations with strangers will drive me insane.  To disembark at touristy places with their touristy gift shops and their touristy cafes and their touristy people to serve will make me want to take the final plunge from the tallest deck!

Dana Gioia has authored a poem in The American Scholar, in which he writes about the cruise-ship carnage.  He writes that it will give him mal de mer.

Gioia has more to say.  Something more profound.  The poem is not merely about cruise-ships.  It is about happiness.

Gioia writes:
I feel no need to vacate my own existence.
Isn’t the point to be happy where you are?
But so little in life is about being happy.
"So little in life is about being happy."

In our daily lives, very little apparently gives people happiness that travel is to get away from it all and to seek that happiness somewhere in the middle of the ocean, while drooling over:
iced pyramids of rosy shrimp and crab claws,
slabs of smoked salmon, lattices of fresh cut cheese,
ripened tomatoes, artichokes with aproned sous-chefs
slicing pink roast beef
"Isn’t the point to be happy where you are?"

If one is not "happy where you are," then the end of the vacation will also be a shell-shocking return to the reality of unhappiness.  On the other hand, when we are happy where we are, travel makes life that much more enjoyable.

My horoscope says that there is travel happening in less than a month.  But, it won't be on a cruise ship. No mountains of food. But, it will be plenty of fun and memories.

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