I’m on the road again, and the road will take me back to Burma/Myanmar. I’m planning to leave the States after posting my students’ grades for this semester. Therefore, I’ll be in Burma from mid-December to after the Burmese Independence Day on January 4. A couple weeks after returning from Burma, I will turn 75. What’s with this drive to travel and being on the road again? Willie Nelson and I share that same drive to be on the road again.
Lyrically, Willie Nelson is correct when he says,
I loved my first trip to places like Bagan, Mandalay, Golden Rock, Mt. Popa, Moulmein, Kalaw, Teak Bridge, and the list goes on. I’d like to return to those places, but there is more to Myanmar than those places that I liked. This trip is being planned again by Patrick Morris. I will going to places that I’ve never been, because I might never see them again.
Trust me. That drive to be on the road again is a motivating force in my entire life. After graduate school in the late 60s, I went to study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. On my first road trip to Scotland, I also traveled throughout all of Western Europe. I have run tours to the Holy Lands and Greece and Turkey. I have been on the road to Tibet and China where I taught an American class. I have traveled to Africa, the Pacific islands, and all of Indochina.
Willie Nelson addresses another explanation for our shared drive to being on the road again.
Nelson nailed that truth. We are like gypsies...always traveling. The haunting issue for me is an explanation about why traveling is so critically imperative for me. Whenever the hauntings occur about travel, I try to explain in logical terms and not merely telling my readers that I am emotionally driven.
One easy answer is that I have realized that I have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While I am not physically hyperactive, my mind is. The downside of ADHD is that I have to make lists of things that I must do and tie them to specific times of completion. However, the upside of ADHD is that everything interests me...as in everything. The everything issue explains wanting to travel. I could rattle off dozens of places that I would like to visit after returning from Myanmar.
In addition to ADHD, I have danced with death twice. Talk about transformative moments in one’s life. You know that you won’t live forever. However, I KNOW that truth firsthand. The difference between those two issues of knowing is vast. Actually, I would argue that you really don’t know that you aren’t immortal. If you did, it would radically change the way you are living your life. Since I woke up to that reality, I am different. Strangely, the change is both exhilarating and freeing.
Another reason for being on the road again is the Lady, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. I have taught various humanities classes during the past 20-years. I am well aware that she is the most important world leader working for human rights. She has fought for improving Burma for most of her adult life at a great cost physically and emotionally to her.
Prior to going to Myanmar four years ago, I tried for a half year to contact her about interviewing her. When I got to Myanmar, I continued my quest. I have not been successful so far. Nevertheless, interviewing the Lady is the single most important thing that I will ever accomplish in my life.
As chance would have it, while I was near Inle Lake, Moh Moh, my tour guide had to pick up some papers related to my tour. We stopped and I had the opportunity to meet Ti Ti, who was her oldest child.
This is Ti Ti today...a young lady.
Recently, Ti Ti and I have exchanged poems, which addressed our fondness for each other. This is my first stanza to Ti Ti.
Even though I haven’t contacted Aung San Suu Kyi yet, I will be on the road again...in large part due to Ti Ti and her family. I see Ti Ti as my granddaughter who I care about in the same way as I care for Ayanna, Jack, and Owen.
Now, we have come full-circle. One of the major driving forces is that my clock is ticking. Someday, I will run out of time. Therefore, I need to get on the road again while I can still hear the tick-tock, tick-tock.
Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Connecting the Dots page to read more about this topic.