Inspiring Each Other: GeoEx Travelers Share Their Stories
We are proud to feature stories, paintings, poems, and thoughts from our GeoEx community of travelers during this time of shelter-in-place. We couldn’t be more inspired by you!
After the Pandemic: an essay by Marlene Lubin
I was just thinking about Venice and what they did when the Plague finally ended. The whole city took to the streets and celebrated. They took tables and chairs outside and ate a festive meal as a community. To this day they still celebrate the end of the Plague in the same fashion and with the gusto that only the Italians can pull off. They even have fireworks. My son was there one year when it was celebrated, and he was in awe. Said he had never seen anything so wonderful.
I would like to see our communities celebrate in a similar fashion. Maybe not on such a grand scale. But we could as small communities and towns take to the streets and have an after-the-virus fair with food, music, and drink. Hire local bands that haven’t had a gig and dance up a storm. If you don’t want to cook, ask the local eateries to cater a town meal (for a fee, of course). This is meant to get the economy going again. Go to your local salons and get end-of-virus haircuts and new styles. That always makes people feel better. Go shopping and get a new outfit with shoes to match. See a play or go to the movies, have popcorn, enjoy yourself. After all, you survived and for that, you are stronger.
Go to the florist, buy flowers and hand them out to the people you are grateful to have in your life. Don’t forget the people who helped keep us going like the doctors and nurses, and the people who helped restock the shelves in the grocery stores so we could have food to eat. Show kindness to everyone who helped us through this difficult page in history. These are just a few suggestions of what we could do to celebrate, I’m sure there are many more.
Unable to paint while traveling, Sue Lorenz revels in past trips.
Beyond Pompeii: a poem by David Sands
To many countries I have been,
With always an eye for how they work,
How they fashion their quilt,
Their fabric of society.
Some are with honor, love.
Some with hubris and misdeed.
There is no easy way to know
The quilt and its warmth,
Unless you have seen it made.
For power decorates with cold symbols of power.
Yet vision, oh what vision can do!
It can derive from the structure of a leaf,
The dynamics of a cellular society
Where the strength is in the flexible walls,
Or from the structure of the mind,
Where strength is in the multiple connections,
Or in the rhythm of an anthill,
Where the strength is in the ordered tasking.
And from such natural models
We might discover a way
To weave a finer quilt
Annealing growth with freedom,
Vision with compassion,
A finer place to create yet a finer place.
Higher learning and a story exchange among friends keep Joan Prime engaged.
As some of the Ivy Leagues are offering free online courses, Joan is taking this opportunity to be a Yale student! Her studies start with a History of Music class. Taking inspiration from a New York Times article, Joan has also started a story exchange. She has invited friends to send her a story about a favorite book that has influenced their life. A famous author said he was most influenced by The Little Engine That Could: “I think I can, I think I can!”
Patti Lefkos is taking the time to read, write, and ponder.
From the mountains of British Columbia, Patti practices social distancing on the cross-country trails when she is not reading or writing. She found wonderful inspiration within The Creative Spark, by Michael Shapiro and recommends the memoirs I Have Something to Tell You, by Natalie Appleton and her own Nepal One Day at a Time. In studying for her next book about her childhood summers, Patti is planning to reread the Canadian classic by M Wylie Blanchett, The Curve of Time, a tale of adventure along the British Columbian coast in a small boat, with five children, in the 1940s.
Peggy Lamb nurtures her wanderlust with literature.
Due to a broken ankle, Peggy began her shelter-in-place eight months ago, having to cancel many trips while she recovered. Unable to fulfill her birthday tradition of a hike in the woods, she explored along in spirit while reading Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail, by Ben Montgomery. Peggy recalls, “She was the first female to walk the 2,000-plus mile trail and did it three times into her seventies. I treaded alongside her while I recovered, and I could almost feel the rain and smell the trees having had such an experience in the Eastern Sierras.”
Peggy continued to quench her outdoor wanderlust with Thru-hiking Will Break Your Heart, by Carrot Quinn, a memoir by a young girl who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone. At first, Peggy wondered if it would keep her attention as each step was written about in great detail. However, by the end of the book, she was just as sad to be leaving the trail.
The next disappointment came when Peggy had to cancel a return trip to Bhutan. Instead, she once again explored along in spirit by following blogs of those who had hiked the infamous Snowman Trek and cross-checked each passage with her daughter’s journey along the same yak herders’ path. Peggy writes, “Bhutan is a ‘beyul’ between heaven and earth where the people straddle both sides believing in witches that protect their forests and Gods who reside on the summits of their mountains where no man has yet to conquer. Their supernatural beliefs have protected their environment and resources, as well as the good governance of the king and parliamentary government.” A book she returns to is Beyond the Earth and Sky, by Jaimie Zeppa, about a school teacher in the nineties who taught in rural Eastern Bhutan, where she falls in love with the country and its people.
Before COVID-19 halted travel, Peggy fulfilled her life-long desire to go to Antarctica after reading Endurance, by Alfred Lansing. She recalls, “The beauty and desolation of Antarctica stay in my dreams, a surreal place where humans walk gingerly in sanitized boots and give way to penguins which are the cutest living thing on the planet. A harbinger of future malaise hung in the air when temperatures reached over 65 degrees, a record heat spell that was visible and tangible as the ice dripped off the glaciers and icebergs and I sat on the ship’s deck drinking my coffee in the morning and hiding in the shade by afternoon.”
Now quarantined at home, Peggy has a stack of books next to her bed and ponders what she’ll write about in her next book. [Her first book, Then I Won’t Seem So Far Away, recounts a hitch-hiking journey across Europe, Africa, and Asia Minor in the 1970s.]
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We invite you to share your recommendations, reflections, art, and general musings with our wanderlust-loving community below. Together we can turn this imposed isolation into a community celebration.
When the time comes, GeoEx is here to tend to your wanderlust. As always, if you have any questions about upcoming trips or booking future travel, we encourage you to call us at 888-570-7108.