Going with the flow

“A journey is like marriage.  The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

  John Steinbeck

So, let’s get this out of the way, from the start. I have Bipolar 2. So I am high maintenance. And not in that makeup, hair, appearance way. More in that “highly sensitive” way, that requires lots of props to keep me at my optimal me.

To run, I require just the right proportions of sunlight, sleep, food, drugs (legal), and most important, environmental stability. Easily stimulated, sensitive to noise, hyper emotionally aware – I’m a Ferrari and not a Ford.

Going through airport customs in Zurich, my carry-on bag, chock full of RXs, was scanned and the official asked me why I had so many – did I have a heart condition?  I’m pretty sure he’s not supposed to ask me that. Well, not really, sir, I want to say. But I simply nod. Heart, thyroid, brain – what’s the difference, really?

By most standards, I make a poor traveler. Jet leg puts me in a tailspin. Sleep is the biggest factor in my wellness equation. Being in different time zones messes with my brain.

In my own North Carolina time zone, I’m often a little off, spacey, easily overwhelmed.  Away from home, my head can become a swirling vortex, a brain within a brain. I seize up before the gaping maw of airports, tickets, maps, schedules, agendas, cabs, buses, trains, language barriers, social customs, etc. – a deer in the headlights.

The Linear Way – logical, scheduled  – doesn’t fit me. I never got that brain chip.

I can’t do it so don’t try to teach me, please be patient, I’ll figure this out, just wait a second. Don’t yell at me. Hold on. Missed the train. Well. That’s OK.

Travel doesn’t comes naturally. But I throw myself into it to prove I can. And to remind myself that my way of doing it is just as legit as anyone’s. And through the years, I’ve come to accept my nature and enjoy the ride. I’m curious about people, new lands, new ideas.  I especially love the mundane in foreign places.

My habit is to follow my nose – it’s never the right way to go, but it’s the off-track way, leading to who knows what, but you never know, could be fun way. And hey, I never met a stranger (due to my Southern upbringing which is very handy).

So I am not letting logistical challenges stop me. Because I’m becoming fluent in the act of letting go – trusting the chaos, stepping out onto the street, mapless, ticketless, and resistant to urgings to hit all the must see/do things. Shucking the “check it off” mentality.

All this to say, we’ve arrived in Zug and, as always, I’ll be learning the lay of the land in my own sweet way.  A little slow for the type-As, but whatever. My body’s almost on European time now.

My husband’s work has brought us to this place for how long we’re not really sure.

So, here’s a picture of the river flowing into Lake Zug, from my run yesterday. The earth smelled like fresh manure, strange new yellow buds were at my heels, and some horseback riders (Swiss women?) passed me on the trail. I have no idea what they said to me.

It’s an amazing new poem in a very, very strange language.

going with the flow


5 thoughts on “Going with the flow

  1. I LOVE this post! It helps me understand you better and also inspires me to be true to my nature, no matter what the situation. I hope you’re enjoying it there…and that you didn’t get a migraine…. You’re a great writer, but I always knew that from the days when I used to read your journal in high school :)!


  2. What a great start! I can completely understand and relate to everything you wrote about, except that end bit about running. Look forward to your next posting.


    • Thank you, Scott. I know you recognized my Big Sur header – that was an AMAZing trip. Hope you and Evan and Zoe are well in that beautiful little valley home.


  3. In fencing terms “the piste” is the playing area or strip. I like that this term is interchangeable in various sports. There is a part of me that wants to travel; to explore, meet new people and to push myself out of my comfort zone, but it doesn’t come easy for me. When confronted with a new place, whether on our own soil or in another country, I have to familiarize myself with where I am. I need to build a nest even if it is only a temporary one. And need to meet the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. I am excited for you on this new journey and look forward to reading more! Thank you for these glimpses into ELK.


    • Thanks for your comments Deb. We are so similar – I started rearranging and reorganizing this tiny apartment as soon as we walked in! I love my creature comforts and domestic routine.

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