“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” -John Steinbeck
A trip takes us.
Sometimes by choice, as in our case.
Sometimes by force- and we are thrown, inevitably, into the waves, at it’s mercy and whim.
Yesterday I was sitting outside the typical suburban office building where J has been working, waiting for his lunch break so we could hop on our bikes over to a nearby park and enjoy the sunshine. One of his colleagues came up and introduced himself. He started by saying he heard what J and I were doing, and was excited for us, for our journey.
Then he proceeded to share about an “adventure” he had as a young man, albeit an unchosen one. “I had an adventure once. I left my home country in 1976, by sea, in a makeshift 10-foot wooden boat.” As part of the second wave of immigrants that were pouring out of Vietnam during that time, he proceeded to share the details, including how he and his brother were without food and water for four days; how they rode the waves through the rain and sun in the Pacific; how he, because he was the strongest and wasn’t sick, had to bail out water from the boat when the water pump broke down; how they had to fend off pirates, whom had taken and raped many women and children, and how they were seeking asylum from the home that they had always known.
He then ended this by saying how he genuinely happy he was for us, how we are in for a “journey of a lifetime.”
Well. We won’t be fending off pirates. And we aren’t fleeing from oppression. We aren’t forced to go without food and water. So, I didn’t quite know how to respond, because the two experiences simply can’t be compared.
I realized, though, that for some reason hearing about what we were doing elicited a desire for J’s colleague to share his story. I admire the strength and courage it must have taken, to survive. And I am grateful that he shared it with me.
Sometimes we choose to take a trip.
Sometimes we don’t.
But the trip takes us.