Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's about the people, people.

You know when you have so much to say about something that you can’t say anything at all? That’s how I feel about the Chiapas trip. It was both magical in unexpected ways and mundane in disappointing ways, but overall it was an amazing experience in an exquisitely beautiful place. Having ten days to think, without the “real world” of kids, TV, phone, email, and writing, was an enormous indulgence.

I have never been on a group tour, and never thought I would. But for some reason this one appealed to me. My general disdain for tours comes from my deep, dark need for complete control, but by giving up the control of planning the travel I freed myself up in ways I hadn't anticipated. I suppose you don’t really know how anxious being in control can make you until you relinquish it.

One unexpected delight of group travel was meeting like-minded people. I was really surprised at the level of education most travelers had; I suppose I thought since this tour was a Nueva Age thing it would attract the flakier types. I must say, I felt like a dolt with my paltry B.A. in Journalism among the many PhDs, MDs, and JDs. Everyone on the tour was simpatico, but there was definitely a front-of-the-bus group and a back-of-the-bus-gang. I loved the delight of making easy friends; in a way the tour was a pre-screening, a net that caught only those who liked to believe in mystery and magic and the possibility that ancient knowledge can have an impact on our modern lives. I hadn’t had that first-week-in-the-dorm feeling for a long time—that sense that I was meeting with people with whom I was making life-long connections. It was refreshing and restorative.

Most surprising, though, was what it did to my writing. I tried to actively not think about the new manuscript, to put the 45 pages already written on simmer in the back brain. Every once in awhile it would bubble over and I’d note a new idea, turn the heat down, and go back to not thinking about it. By the time I was on the plane home I had a fully flushed out plotline. This never happens. Now I’m anxious to get the thing written and have given myself an outrageous deadline of six weeks for the next 200 pages! Once school gets out my time is not my own and I can’t do much writing, only revising, so I’m running scared from June 13th. But I can do it!

Okay, so much for not being able to write anything about the trip.

No comments: