Tag Archives: writing

El Salvador Journal: Part I

1964899_10152272882311550_673637948_nSo, I’ve been struggling with whether or not to write up my journal I wrote while in El Salvador, which you’ll learn why at the end of the series. I’ve been thinking a lot about everything that happened- positives, negatives, the scenery (the photo in this post was taken on the top of some mountain I forget the name of), and all the things I was able to learn while being in an underdeveloped country for the first time. I want to tell the story because I did, by and large, have an amazing time.

So, here it goes.

(Note: This was all written on my iPhone, which magically survived the trip. Some have timestamps and overall they were pretty short entries. Some will be more interesting than others)

 

3/16/2014 (1:49pm EST) – On the way to El Salvador – Syracuse, Atlanta, San Salvador. 

“Since someone from SUNY Oswego was going to be picking me up at my apartment at 2:30am to head to our flight in Syracuse, I thought it would be better if I just didn’t go to bed.

I’m beginning to regret that decision, though I have been able to fall asleep now and again on the flight from Syracuse to Atlanta.

The group, Tim, Andrew, Ryan, Courtney, and I, had some breakfast at the airport in Atlanta and hung out until our flight. We were all still a little too tired to get to know one another, though we didn’t take any time in ragging on Ryan; he was the last one to get to Syracuse’s airport.

I am currently on the flight from Atlanta to San Salvador, and having already took a quick snooze ealier in the flight and read half of the book I need for class next week, I thought I would get started on writing a journal of this trip.

I am excited for this opportunity to go to a place I find so interesting. Central America will be different, but I look forward to learning about the culture and the people. I want to let them know I am not just another American on a vacation, rather, that I am someone who is generally interested in who they are and what they represent.

I also hope that I am able to grow as a person, something I think has happened already, and I didn’t even get there yet.

After reading most of my book, “Harry Potter and History,” and taking notes in the margins and front of the book, I have come to a realization: I am becoming a real historian. The book isn’t very complicated, but it does take an ability to analyze and process what the writers are trying to put together. It’s helped me better understand historical context in novels, giving me a more broard overview of what constitutes being historical.

Anyway, I have some forms to fill out for customs. See you on the ground.”

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Outside of the box: Forming a new perspective

Before I start writing, I want to make it clear that I am only 5 chapters in to the book I am about to be commenting on, though I am in love with it already.

I recently started reading, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, after hearing some good things about it. I was a little hesitant at first, mostly because the title led me to believe I needed to have some sort of knowledge of motorcycles or maybe even own one to understand it.

This was dismissed immediately.

The book centers around the idea of motorcycle maintenance, using the ideas associated with it as metaphors for life philosophies that the author, Robert M. Pirsig, has picked up over the years.

Early on in the book he describes the feeling of riding a “cycle,” as he often refers to it, as a means to get to a destination as opposed to a plane or a car. The cycle allows you to be in the scene. You get to conquer the space in between where you are and where you’re going. “The concrete is just inches below your boots,” Pirsig says. He goes on to mention how a car has a compartment, separating you from the space around you on your journey.

The following is an excerpt from the book that struck a chord with me:

“To arrive in the Rock Mountains by plane would be to see them in one kind of context, as pretty scenery. But to arrive after days of hard travel across the prairies would be to see them in another way, as a goal, as a promised land.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a “It’s about the journey not the destination” line, but for some reason, this quote in particular got me thinking about more than that; more than the journeys you take in life.

I want to live my whole life outside of the box. I want to have the freedom to learn and explore, even if it’s not a physical journey. I know I’m not very exciting; I don’t take crazy trips; I don’t jump off of cliffs or out of planes. I know that’s not a bad thing, I enjoy living a simple existence with room to expand at my leisure, however, I do want to make sure I’m putting my life experiences in a context that allows me to truly understanding the things I’m going through.

With all that being said, I do want to take more trips to places I’ve said I want to visit. As Pirsig says, having a good time means concentrating more on “good” and less on “time.” To me, that means not worrying about how far it is to your destination is and how long it will take to get there, just that you got up and went.

Every couple of chapters, or when I come across something I find interesting, I am going to try and do a write up to make sure I really understand what I’m reading. Wish I had this kind of focus on school work. I’d have a PhD in a couple of years if I did.

On top of all this, now I really want a motorcycle. Maybe one day.

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