Tell My Feet – I Made It Home! by Elaine Lee

“To travel is to dance” is a traditional Bantu saying that captures the feeling that I had after recently returning from my second solo sojourn around the world. Through the orchestration of time, money and movement the journey was a wondrous adventure full of excitement, natural beauty, challenges, miracles, joy, surprises and remarkable expressions of hospitality. Now that an invisible trail of my molecules rings the planet, I feel oddly possessive of it, as if I’d wrapped my arms around it.”
“So in some sense the world seems small to me. I find it nothing short of surreal that this whole inhabited planet can be circled in a mere 5 months by a pilgrim with a backpack, water bottle and a sturdy pair of teva sandals. Yet, the world is truly enormous and the more one travels across it the more possibilities of for exploration and contemplation multiply: a branching equation with no limits. So now what? I will recuperate for a few months or a few years, pull out my atlas and start making plans for the next trip. Meanwhile God is laughing up her sleeve.” This is an excerpt/adaptation from an interview with one of my favorite travel writers, Jeff Greenwald upon his return from one of his trips around the world.
Some of the highlights of the journey were;
– Climbing the Franz Joseph glacier in New Zealand,
– Sailing Africa’s Seychelles Islands with 45 members of an African American sailing club,
– Studying traditional massage at world renowned Wat Po Institute in Bangkok, Thailand and achieving their level one certification.
– Meeting many Americans who are buying property outside of the United States as a security/protective measure, just in case political and economic tragedy hit the United States.
– Attending the Garifuna Heritage Festival in Belize, Central America. The Garifuna people are one of the few groups of African people in the Diaspora that were never enslaved. They have managed to retain a remarkable amount of their African heritage.
– Visiting Costa Rica’s Afro-Caribbean seaside community of Puerto Viejo, where they have an active chapter of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) as well as a UNIA building that was constructed in 1930 under the direction of Marcus Garvey.
– Visiting Dubai, United Arab Emirates during Ramadan,
– Touring the Apartheid museum in Johannesburg,
– Learning about the 30 year vigil that a group of aboriginal people in Australia have been holding in front of their nation’s capital in Canberra,
– Exploring the rich and diverse salsa scene in Paris, France, the highlight being dancing til midnight at a salsa party that was held at an outdoor plaza along the Seine River.
Having completed this journey, makes me wish I could trade in my U.S. passport and become a citizen of the world. When I think of my freedom to travel as well as my trip to the motherland, I am reminded that, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Meanwhile my heart is still broken by the widespread devastation that took place in South East Asia and Africa during December 26’s full moon in 2004. I mourn the loss of human, animal and plant life. There but for fortune go I. Just a few weeks prior to the tragedy, I visited many of the places that were subsequently hit by the Tsunami, i.e. the islands of Phuket, Phi Phi, the Phrang Na province of southern Thailand as well as the Seychelles Islands, which is an African island nation located north east of the continent in the Indian Ocean. These places are/were some of the most exquisitely beautiful and unique places on the planet as well as peopled by folks who have a soul-swirling penchant for generosity, hospitality and kindness. I am deeply saddened by the shock, distress and loss that I imagine my friends, associates and colleagues must still be experiencing at this time. I am pleased however to witness how the world community has rallied to help the people of the affected regions.
I extend peace and blessings upon on all of those who are working to alleviate the suffering of the survivors of the Tsunami tragedy.
Be strong, be brave, be proud and be humble, (traditional Maori salutation)
All and all, it was a most satisfying, safe and educational journey, more of which I hope to share with you in future communications. Elaine Lee, 3/2005
P.S. Home is internal for me. I can make a home wherever I go. I come into a place and make connections. As they deepen, I feel I’m home. Ruth Golman Gelman
I have been on the road so long, you might have to run me down, catch me and tie me up in a shed until I get housebroken again. When I get tame, I might have something interesting to tell you. J. Harris
Gloom we have always with us, a rank and sturdy weed, but joy must be tended B. Holland
When I dare to use my strength in the service of my vision then it become less and less important whether I am afraid. Audrey Lourde
“Live life like you mean it!”
“Tell my feet – I made it home!”

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