Summing it up, badly

It’s been over 7 weeks. We’ve taken over 3,000 photos. We’ve eaten over 300 restaurant meals. We’ve flown over 10,000 miles. And I’ve written well over 10,000 words about the experience (I can’t check the exact number because at the moment I’m 40,000 feet up, somewhere between Athens and Philadelphia).

Even so, I haven’t come close to describing the whole experience, and I probably never will. I haven’t written at all about our three days in Vienna, our visit to Athens, or our stay in Delphi. I haven’t mentioned how the family has gotten along on the trip, or what I thought of the hotels we stayed in. I haven’t expressed my thoughts about the European philosophy of toilets, or Greek television, or Italian wine.

To compound the problem, I feel my language and photos haven’t adequately captured the parts of the trip that I have managed to describe. They’re a hint of the reality, but they’re not the real thing.

As I was working on my memoir a couple years ago, I realized that if I kept writing at the same rate I had been, I wouldn’t catch up to the “present” until I was over 70 years old. On this trip, I’ve actually fallen behind — writing about my life has taken longer than living it.

The point of blogging about the vacation wasn’t supposed to be to record every moment, or to turn it into a memoir — it was just to express my thoughts about the experiences I was having before I forgot them. I hope I’ve succeeded at that.

I think I was also hoping to take home something profound from the experience — I don’t know what, exactly, but I was thinking, somehow, that by plunging into a different world, I’d learn something about life that I didn’t know before.

I feel like I have learned something, but I haven’t been able to put it into words yet. I don’t think I could without sounding sappy or trite.

Oh well. I guess that’s a writer’s job: just keep on writing, and maybe every so often you’ll say something worthwhile.

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