Happy as Foreigners

Last weekend Meg & I went to Zion National Park and experienced foreigner-happy.

I grew up an hour from Yosemite, CA. You may not be surprised that I’ve never truly “done Yosemite.” A few short trails with Meg and some family picnics is as far as I’ve experienced this natural wonder that attracts ecstatic foreigners the world over to gawk in awe at our backyard.

Taft Point with Meg
Taft Point trail in Yosemite, CA is a beautiful, short hike for insane views

But this weekend, we visited Zion National Park in Utah, both for the first time. We planned months ahead, bought a lot of stuff, and stopped at every visitor center to ask questions. Mile by mile I watched the expressions on her face evolve: By the time we arrived in the park, we were full-blown nature tourists.

Meg and I on Emerald Pools trail loop

The reverence and euphoria we felt from this mystical environment seemed to be shared particularly by those with accents.

So many trails we wanted to beat, with great destinations in themselves, and in so little time, but we had already arrived: We were happy just to be there.

But there was also some people who were clearly not there yet. Hurrying their families along with furrowed brow, complaining at the feet of these red colossal wonders.

Those who travel the farthest to get there, appreciate it more than those who were born there. While some might not realize they’re already there. More striving is necessary for them to arrive. Maybe they had a specific idea of what the trip would be like, and they won’t rest until it’s just that. Well, I pray they get there soon.

Didn’t capture many people photos but the Zion shuttle system is very handy!

An elderly couple said to us on an evening trail as we oo’ed and awe’d at the stars: “Y’all must not be from around here!”

I said in peaceful exhaust: “no sir, we most definitely are not.”

What do 14 year olds stuck on family vacation have in common with locals at a national park? They’re the only ones who don’t seem to notice the wonders all around them.

You will be the happiest to arrive when you get where you’re going. And when you do, you will feel the peaceful joy of being there. I reckon it’s a matter of conscious awareness of the choice in every moment to leave your worries at home and enjoy the journey as the destination.

T.S Eliot in his famous poem Little Gidding said: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.”

Those who suffer most in this life, experience the most change, evolve most, grow furthest. Those who grow furthest truly appreciate being there.

How can you get that foreigner-happy at home? Maybe more travel is the answer.

How can you see the home within yourself as a foreign and new destination? How can you return to the home within yourself with renewed eyes? How can you be the happiest within yourself? Travel there.

The next time we visit our backyard Yosemite, we’re gonna book it like tourists. From now on, we’re going to make a proper adventure out of every backyard trip.

Because those who travel the furthest are always the happiest to be there.

For more Zion photo dump, go to: https://instagram.com/antpstyle

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