Thoughts that came in a jeep…

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.  You kind of have no choice when you spend muchas horas in vehicles bouncing along dirt roads.  Plus, gorgeous scenery to me always inspires introspection.  What’s hard is to put all these complicated thoughts into words in a way that makes sense.  But I’ll try.

I was definitely not prepared for the controversy that came from a hastily written, filler-type (if we must admit) blog entry of last week.  In fact, I barely glanced through it before giving it the thumbs up, more distracted by what I was doing on my own internet terminal.  Not that I’m shirking responsibility.  Everything that is written on this blog represents both Zach and I, no matter who writes it.

So bumping along at high altitude from Tupiza to Uyuni, I believe I was able to define one of my problems.  And it is this: I struggle a lot between being true to my own strong opinions and being gracious and loving.  I guess I am very good at the “carry a big stick” part but not so good at the “speak softly” part of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous philosophy.

Although the blog I’m referring to was written exaggeratedly, it did not translate so well over the Internet, and I can see how it did hurtfully insult.  I’m sorry for that.  I didn’t write it myself, but I have written things in the past that have been similar in tone.  The tightrope between being true to myself and still striving to understand those who are different from me is a difficult one to walk.  I need to work on my balance.

More thinking in transit revealed to me that the blanket statement “Real life is for chumps,” does not even truly represent my opinion.  Let me try to state my true opinions, which several days of organizing my thoughts on the subject have led me to:

1.  There is nothing wrong with, and I hold no judgement for, people who choose a more traditional American* life if that is truly what they want for themselves.

2.  I do believe people should question things more, educate themselves better, think more creatively, and not blindly follow the path laid out for them by their parents/government/job etc.

3.  I do believe that many, many Americans follow the traditional “American dream” (which I define as college, career, house, kids, retirement, etc.) because they become trapped by debt, aren’t encouraged to consider other options, or because they are afraid to do something different, not because it is what they truly want.

4.  The majority of Americans are INSANELY MATERIALISTIC, and this materialism is one our worst qualities and one of the top reasons our society is so broken.

These are my strong opinions which I cannot compromise.  My fault is that I have unfairly judged and insulted some people who don’t deserve it.  I am sorry.  From now on, I am going to try harder to remember #1 when I am tempted to make overarching statements about certain lifestyles.

But, if I am forgiven, I must ask for the same respect in return from now on.  If I am able to reconsider my views to be more accepting of your decisions, than can you stretch your mental limits to ponder accepting mine?  Also, can we all get offended less easily?  To be quite honest, I’m probably always going to think that you’re a bit boring, and you’re probably always going to think that I’m a crazy hippy.  Right?  Now that I flat out said it, who really cares enough to be offended?  Not this girl.

So that’s that.  I’m sorry for harsh words of the past.  If you have a more “normal” life and are content with it, I don’t begrudge you that.  Please don’t begrudge me of my crazy nomadic one, because I have never been happier.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost

*For the sake of this post, I’m using American/Americans to refer only to people of the U.S.A.  I realize this is ethnocentric and usually try to avoid it, but for now it’s easier.