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Greetings from Madagascar

What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you pack up all your stuff and move into a bigger house? Would you pay off your bills? Would you travel the world and then some?

When I left New Hampshire, a lot of folks that knew me well speculated that I would not stay in Austin. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that Austin is a bad place or anything. Neither is it that they couldn’t see me liking it here in River City. It was more a question of my wanting to travel. I’m not the type of person most people envision staying in the same place for one time. Fast forward 10 years and, look, I’ve been in Austin for 12 years and I’ve no intentions of moving. It’s not that I don’t like travel. It’s not that September 11th scared me into not wanting to do it. It’s just that I have not had much of a chance to actually get out there and go. Real life gets in the way, and I enjoy my sense of exploration while staying in the same place.

Case in point, the east side of Austin. There’s a lot there to see and do. I enjoy making it over that way. I love uncovering hidden areas of the city in which I reside. Even if they are not entirely “wild” or “exotic” I enjoy them none the less. It’s the art of exploration, the chase, the sense of adventure, of uncovering new things. It’s not so much about the travel per se. You can stay and home and still be far, far away. Travel is a state of mind as much as a sense of being. Or being “away” as the case may be.

Conversely, you can travel and still be safe “at home.” How many people pack their entire wardrobe with them when they travel? How many people frequent the same damn hotels over and over again? Do they really think the Holiday Inn in Peoria is really all that much different from the one in Orlando? The mere act of getting out and seeing the world is as much contained in the physical trip as it is in the attitude. Those who have open minds and a sense of adventure can find new and interesting things in their own backyards. Those who travel like robots, hopping from plane to plane, living in plastic bags and jumping from cab to cab do not necessarialy enjoy all that the world has to offer. You can traverse the world with blinders, end in the same place in which you began, and still fail to see the beauty in the trip. “Carol’s Little World” may not be all that little. But, it’s mine and I define what makes it “exotic” and “far away.”

Until next time, this is Carol, the Carol in “Carol’s Little World” signing off.

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