Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What do you hope to accomplish during your six weeks in Europe?


A lot of folks have asked me this question, so I thought I'd answer it once and for all.

Nothing.

There is nothing I hope to accomplish during my sabbatical time in Europe.  Put differently, I have no particular goals for that time.  I really do aim simply to live.  (Well, I will also write daily, but I consider that part of living.)

Having said that, I have constructed the trip so that it puts me outside many of my comfort zones:

  • I am sticking to the continent, so I will not be fluent in the language of any country I visit. 
  • I am relentlessly refusing to plan or to commit to visiting any of the places many folks have recommended.  I want to wake up each day knowing that I could choose that day to go anywhere--but also knowing that whatever I choose, however it goes, I picked it with no external commitment or pressure.  I will never have an excuse to blame someone else. 
  • I am not going to check with work at all.  The level at which I work is functionally an addiction; it's time to break that. 
  • The utter lack of planning means I cannot fail.  I tend to use fear of failure as a motivator; I am removing that motivation.  
  • I have never been away from home this long, so I will have to deal with all the feelings a trip of this length is likely to engender.
  • I am not committing to blogging during the trip. If I write a blog entry, it will be because I chose to do so, because I was indulging in the joy of writing.  I need to get back in touch with more of the joy and less of the chore of writing. 
I want to be outside of my comfort zone simply because I want to see what it is like to live so very differently. 

I expect to have a grand time.  I also expect to find odd emotional traps inside me, dependencies I have never fully understood.  I feel that is all to the good.

I expect the trip may well change me--or not. 

Either way, I'm quite looking forward to it. 


6 comments:

Dan Campbell said...

Go, Mark, go! Go, Mark, go!

I'm really hoping this trip turns out transformative, in many good ways for you. It's a fantastic idea.

Enjoy!!

Mark said...

Thanks, Dan.

J. Griffin Barber said...

I am envious of your goals, not to mention the opportunity.

Mark said...

I'm jealous of me--and I'm doing it!

Andy Finkel said...

It does sound like it will be great. Are you thinking of documenting the trip (you might be able to use it in some way later on) or would that change the spirit of the thing ?

Mark said...

I don't know yet, Andy. I've been pondering that very thing. More as I know more.

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