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A wise Geometry teacher once explained to me that a point in space is infinitely small. Imagine a sphere that takes up absolutely no space. So, no matter how many points you add together, you’d never be able to fill even a matchbox.
Sometimes, this is how I feel about traveling. No matter how much I travel, when I look at a map all I can see is the empty spaces where I have not yet been.
To the left is a picture of the “Places” section of my iPhoto library, which I love because it gives me a way to identify the places I liked enough to take pictures. This naturally means there are a number of holes and missing pins (places where I didn’t have a camera or just plain forgot). Still, when I look at it, all I can think of is how much of Europe I have yet to see (especially the east). The point I’m getting at, though, is that no matter how much you travel (or what you do in life), you’ve never seen or done it all.
Letting Go of Perfectionism
If I went chasing all the holes, I’d never get outside a single country. Even in France alone, there were so many interesting cities that I would have loved to see but simply did not have the time.
This is analogous to life, in my opinion. As a businessman, if you stress about each new deal and contract, you’ll end up skimping on all of them equally. If you try to learn everything in life, you run the risk of becoming a “jack of all trade and a master of none.” With languages, if you go chasing each and every grammar form that you do not know, you’ll never truly learn the language – you’ll get lost in the details. It all boils down to another one of my favorite sayings:
You can’t see the forest through all the trees
Of course, I’m a big fan of doing too much. It is simply a balancing act of knowing when to move on to the next thing.
Onward and… Downward?
Next up, I’ll be leaving for Peru on August 28th. I’ve booked an apartment to live in (in Lima) for 2 months, but will be in South America at least through the end of 2011. A whole new continent to “collect” for my iPhoto library! My big goal for this trip, though, will be to become truly fluent in Spanish. Though my French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese are all conversant and passable – this would be the first language I would be truly fluent in.
So, you can expect to see some more posts from South America in the coming weeks, but for now I am enjoying being in my home state of Michigan with family and friends!