Several years ago, my husband and I decided to semi-retire. We bought a Roadtrek camper van and equipped it with vanity plates that commanded us to GOMOSLO. It worked for awhile, but life offers a feast of possibilities, each costing a portion of our time and energy. Without noticing, we drifted back into “busy.”
In the wee hours of this morning, on my way to three weeks in Oaxaca, once again, I felt the message to slow down. The past couple of weeks have been north-of-the-border busy, getting ready for two art shows and delivering my first newsletter for Feria Maestros del Arte. These were fun, engaging, creative projects. However, with the trip to Oaxaca already scheduled, they came with challenging deadlines, and I found myself revving up to a much higher tempo than normal, actually a bit frenetic.
Now, sitting in the airport in Mexico City after too little sleep, I find myself relaxing and thinking about the weeks to come, letting go of the expectation that I’m going to devour the world of Mexican Folk Art in one huge gulp. I have a google map of Oaxaca with dozens of pins marking the “must sees," the art villages surrounding the city, and the artist’s workshops that I want to visit. And, I’m sure I could add dozens more and create a non-stop schedule for the next 21 days, letting myself get caught up in a frenzy to climb the endless learning curve I’ve chosen.
However, one of my art journal friends has, nicely and somewhat subtlety, encouraged me to keep a travel journal and I actually started one last night with pages of maps of all the places I could be visiting. Added to that is the fact that I'm staying at the home/art studio of a friend who is also an art and travel journal guide. Methinks, there's a message about taking the time to journal about this trip.
Perhaps, it isn’t the quantity of what I see and learn, but also the quality of the experience and what it means to me. Maybe, the travel journal is not just another task to perform on this trip, but actually the point of the journey … not as a product but as the process of making sense of the experience.
As these thoughts meandered through the morning, a thought struck me: Slow down: simplify, savor, synthesize. Simplify my agenda and don’t try to “see it all.” Savor what I see and do with all my senses. Synthesize the many pieces of what I experience into a meaningful whole. Slow down and enjoy this gift of time and the introduction to this great city and its incredible diversity of culture and art. Let it seep into my pores.