April 10, 2012

Far Away with Children and Running Shoes

Far Away with Children and Running Shoes

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
~ Anais Nin

6 AM in Darwin, NT, Australia is 1:30 in the afternoon and a day behind in California. I woke this morning feeling like a weary time traveler. My 10 year old had taken all the blankets (but given that it’s 95 degrees here most of the day, that was not so bad) and my 12 year old is snoring like a wild bear.

All I can think is:

Can I find my running shoes in the dark and get back before they are awake?

I change in the dark. Whisper in the ear of my older son that I’ll be back within an hour and slip out the door. He grunts and rolls over. Did he hear me?

10 minutes later I am running here:







Sometimes it seems like – just when I start to get accommodated to the level of chaos I have – I throw a new challenge at myself for sport. So why not a major international business trip combined with my kids’ spring break vacation?

I know at least some of you are laughing now.

Frankly, they have endured well so far. It took almost 28 hours to get here to Darwin. It’s hot and they have jet lag and their mom is now working for a few days and leaving them to fend for themselves in a foreign country.  Mind you they are at a nice resort and they can walk into the conference hall and get me at any time…but it’s still a big leap from normal.

I started running for days like this. For weeks like this. For moments like this. Frankly, show me another form of exercise that I can pack in my suitcase and execute half way around the globe and I just might try it. Like the rest of my life often needs to be, running is both portable and flexible.

It’s also weirdly routine now even when the rest of my life feels completely random and unpredictable. And I don’t just mean that I find the same treadmills in gyms worldwide (though that is weird too). I mean the whole experience has become oddly comforting in the midst of everything else that is not.

I tie on my shoes. I cue up my favorite music. I can stop at the front desk of almost any hotel and ask for a route. Yesterday, when I wanted to confirm where I was on my run, I stopped another runner and she gave me a perfect detailed description of the trail ahead and then turned and sprinted off the other way with a smile and I could have been anywhere in that moment and felt at home.

Travel is funny like that. I enjoy the foreign-ness of it – I love new sounds and sights and smells and cultures – and I love being immersed in them. But often the most profoundly touching and memorable times for me at those moments when suddenly the foreign becomes familiar and you realize just how small of a world we really are. We spend a lot of time exaggerating our differences when our samenesses are so very great.

I hope my kids catch a glimpse of this this week.

Happy Tuesday to you on this Wednesday morning in Darwin.



Leave a comment
  1. Dawn
    April 11, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    hahaha…Jacqueline, I love the Happy Tuesday on this Wednesday comment! 🙂

    That view is amazing, takes your breath away!

    I know what you mean about the comfort of running, it is the one consistent thing you can do/take anywhere, it bonds you to all other runners, makes one feel less alone somehow. A smile from another runner as I pass them makes a huge difference to my run. It makes me happy with the world! Eeeeeh, I am feeling happy this Wednesday…(or Thursday??) 🙂

  2. Dawn
    April 11, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    (I am also British, hence the ‘eeeeeh’ comment. lol.)
    Dawn 🙂