Posted on | November 2, 2007 | No Comments
Traveling around the world is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t waste your life. I’m not at all implying that those who do not travel are wasting their lives, I’m only implying that you should endeavor to do and see as much as you possibly can while your alive. Pink Floyd said this rather simply, “All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be.”
I’ve been out of the country (home is Baltimore, Maryland in the US) for nearly three years now. I’ve seen amazing places, amazing faces, eaten things that I could not quite identify, gained a refined global perspective and outlook on life as my adventures indoctrinated me into the meaning of being a citizen of the world. Meanwhile, I have not seen a change of seasons in almost 4 years.
I always jeered at those who talked about some kind of internal ticking biological ‘clock’ insisting that we’re advanced beings with full control over our comfort with our surroundings. Human beings can tolerate (nearly) any kind of change with very little effort (provided that they aren’t stuck in a cycle of endless complaining). I might just have to eat those words, every 4 months I find myself rather disoriented due to a lack of seasonal transition.
I was getting used to not seeing much of a spring, winter started jumping directly into a red hot humid summer several years before I left Baltimore. Fall and winter are sorely missed.
My logical mind knows that I do not need to experience seasonal change to be healthy, alert and happy. Many people on the planet never see seasons, they’re healthy, happy people. You don’t miss what you never experienced, missing something like seasons must be some sort of self-inflicted subversive trick of the mind, right? Just like someone who was once wealthy might miss their cash should they find themselves suddenly poor.
I think that it comes down to things that we do, but don’t realize we’re doing. If you have ever built a robot, you would understand how extremely difficult it can be to program something to orient itself. The Mars rovers are a very good example. As humans, we’re constantly making reference points based on our environment. Seasonal change, undoubtedly is one of the key reference points that we maintain in order to keep ourselves oriented. Unlike robots, we notice when things don’t happen just as much as we notice things happening.
Its now shortly into November, yet outside its nearly 95 degrees with high humidity. The longer I’m abroad, the more interesting (and profound) my disorientation becomes at this time of year. My first year in Asia, doing without seasons was a piece of cake, more of a marvel. Now, I find myself close to clumsy unless I really focus on navigating whats around me. Last year I experienced something similar (not quite as acute) which passed after December. I did not experience this when I was traveling to California and Texas for lengthy stays. Maybe spending so much time in low elevations also has something to do with it.
I’m perfectly healthy otherwise, so I can only attribute this to a lack of seasons.
I did some digging to find research discussing (possible) long term effects (good and bad) stemming from a lack of a static environment. I do know that growth is obtained through struggle (this process starts as we wiggle out of the woumb), so hopefully my struggle to not fall flat on my face will pay off.
I really hope that there are no (known) detrimental long term effects of what I call climate hopping. Some friends of mind who travel from one extreme climate to another (usually opposing) extreme climate have reported similar quirks. It will be interesting to see what happens after I’ve been home for a while.