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Getting Lost But Finding Truths Instead


I’m coming to the end of the revelations from my unplugged beach vacation (and therefore coming back, kicking and screaming if you must know, into daily reality), so if you’re thinking “enough already, enough, why don’t you just go live up in the north woods of Canada and be done with it while I enjoy my Wi-fi and texting and Pinterest?” then I promise you I’ll move onto another topic next week. Promise. Pinky swear promise.

So back to last week.

After we said goodbye to Caton and Aster (who stayed with my mom for an extra week), Doug and I headed for home. We took a couple of wrong turns on our way out of town, fairly close to the start of our trip. OK, it was practically right outside my mom’s driveway. True story. I guess we were both distracted.

(More like he was distracted. I’m just plain clueless when it comes to directions. Navigating around my home town is one of the hardest things for me and I have no idea why. All theories welcome.)

Due to the wrong turn, for the first five hours of our ride home we found ourselves driving through a different part of Pennsylvania than usual. It was very rural, old coal mining and old oil refining and old everything, all the reasons this part of the country is suffering so badly today. As we sped through the mountains at 65 miles per hour you can see how nothing has moved into this part of the country to replace the industries of days gone by. We did pass the biggest glass bottle manufacturer in the world. But I can’t say we saw a lot more.

It’s such a contrast to the Washington DC area we live in, the place Doug and I jokingly refer to as “the land of milk and honey” not because of its natural beauty or resources, but because of its intellectual and civil capital. This is the land of endless possibilities, for better and for worse (and it has the infrastructure and political headaches to show for it).

Reflecting on my week away from it all (quite literally, no tv or radio or internet or newspapers) with only my family and the voices in my head focus on, a few things became clearer to me:


  • It’s totally OK to have days where my most pressing task is to finish my ribbon embroidery. I need more of those days, in fact.
  • Ditto for the thick but airy-fairy, nothing-more-than-mind-candy novel.
  • It’s been harder than I thought to get back to living in the digital world.
  • I did not miss Facebook one bit.
  • However it was nice to find out that I was missed on Facebook and that kind of bothers me.
  • Canandian Breyers ice cream tastes nothing like American Breyers ice cream. It’s 1000 times better in Canada. While this fact doesn’t surprise me in the least, it does make me very suspicious about American manufacturing and the ingredients the American company uses.
  • Canadian milk tastes better too (see suspicions above).
  • Although bad weather on a beach vacation is a bummer, it can be a creative reboot and lead to exceptional output, even (maybe especially?) after the trip.
  • Even after spending day in and day out with my kids over the years, sometimes I learn more about them by viewing them from a distance.
  • It’s much easier to understand the realities of American life and the disconnect of politics by driving through the backwoods of Pennsylvania once in a while rather than listening to the news or reading the newspaper every day.


So now I'm curious - if you’ve had the chance to get away this summer, have you had any revelations of your own?  What’s come to you when you least expected it? Tell me in the comments below.



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