The world as we knew it in 1970 was a time of promise and failure, a time, in fact, when we had just placed men on the moon and were losing a war. The time was dynamic. And it wouldn’t last long. It was about men and boys who opposed the draft and war to such an extent that they fled their country. In some sense Peg and I were doing the same thing by traveling around the world…I hadn’t looked at it in that way before tonight…and it occurred to me that the traveling kept us from being involved in the promise and failure to the extent we might’ve otherwise been. But I’m not absolutely sure. All I know is that traveling the way we did (and for as long as we did) cushioned us. We’ve told people since that we missed the anti-war protests, Kent State, and the riots. We didn’t emerge until Watergate.
Had we stayed home I would’ve been drafted. Besides that, I don’t know what would’ve happened. There are many possible scenarios.
Instead, for five years we were out of touch; or we were on the road getting “another” perspective of our country and the world. From the few anti-American demonstrations I saw (Peg never saw them) on the campus of The University of Philippines (and the small one that we witnessed in Vengurla India), this perspective provided us with an inkling of what was going on. However, we were cushioned.
Both our travels and our living overseas have given us a worldview; and knowing that you can see how valuable it all was. I’m not sure now, after all of these years, how I am going to use the experience. It has been suggested that I have a book. Perhaps I’ve started one by blogging; but it seems to me that I’ve already used the experience; the sensitiveness I gained never left me. And now the challenge will be how to draw from all of it again and find new meaning.
I’ve always been scattered. I have said over and over again that I prefer to travel without a map. I’ve lived my life that way. I think that’s probably so because I find it easy. “I’m easy” was a term I first heard from an Australian companion on the Land Rover leg of our journey from New Delhi to Yugoslavia. Now times have changed, and there’s no longer a nation called Yugoslavia. Perhaps it is because I can now write about a nation called Yugoslavia that what I have stored within me has value to other people. I need to remember that I have a special point of view: remember and use it. I now feel inclined to do that while I have the time.