By: Ethan Maurice
A short excerpt from the first page of my New Zealand Journal.
When you get away from it, it's easy to forget. And as long as you're away from it, you can never remember. But when you return—ah, when you return to it!—once again the truth is as clear as day and greets you as if you'd never left.
I landed in Christchurch, New Zealand last night. And I'm now sitting on a bus, winding through green valleys and rolling countryside dotted with countless sheep. After time away from nature, bathed in advertising, money, and status, such things tend to infect one's thoughts. Remarkably, though, I'm an hour into this bus ride and my compass has already realigned to true north. Take away the television, advertisements, and social proof of collective priorities held by those with constant exposure to such an environment and replace them with lush green, fresh air, and places that beckon to be explored, and the mental poisons of a consumer society quickly denature.
Living in a world totally composed of man-made things—of houses, surfaces, cars, roads, malls, movies etc.—we often forget about the world outside the one we've built for ourselves. And we often forget how lovely that world is. We get caught up in status and wealth and the systems of man and the wonder of life tends to diminish.
This happens to me, over and over again. Every time I get deep into the world we've built, I find myself caught up in it and forget how simple, beautiful, and serene life is outside of it. Eventually, though, one thing or another calls me back out, beyond our systems and cities, and I think:
“Wow. This is great! How could I have forgotten?”