Do you wear a watch when you travel? Or do you rely on your phone as a timepiece?
I am planning the last minute details of my New Zealand trip at the end of the month. I am not going to bring my watch. At first, my reason was primarily the hassle of keeping it charged with its own charger (thanks Apple). Then I began reading a book about different concepts of time and how they affect our relationships with God and others in Becoming Friends of Time by John Swinton. The first chapter is about o’clock, a concept I first explored with my friend UK Sarah. She and Roy are very o’clock and I realize that I have become very much so since I left New Zealand. When I was living there in 2011, I was redesigning my life and intentionally being instead of doing. Now as a consultant my life is defined so much by $ per hour that I’ve lost the stake of my redesign (and it is Sarah and Roy who are being more than doing).
I am so looking forward to my two weeks in New Zealand, and yet my joy is dampened by worrying about the time I won’t have to earn $/hour. I justify my trip by plans to work on my penguin viewing guide. Why is it not enough to be in beautiful places and enjoy friends and make space for meeting new friends?
As Swinton writes:
The desirable state for human beings living within Standard Average European Time is to be able to handle the economics of time efficiently in a world that adores speed, loves intellectual prowess (quickness of mind), and worships comfortably at the altar of competitiveness, productivity, efficiency, and self-sufficiency (using your time well on your own behalf). The implication is that to live humanly is to live one’s life effectively according to a series of culturally constructed time tracks that are laid out according to the fixed and relentless rhythm of the two-handed clock… (p 31)
I want to glean the benefits of living in this moment, and this moment, and this moment. “Living in the present moment” is a catch phrase popular among new agers and Oprah fans. Yet few of us manage it on a regular basis. Vacations are unique opportunities to do this if we allow ourselves to move with an open schedule.
I am going to fly to Auckland and then on to Blenheim. The first two nights are reserved for experiencing an amazing garden and then I’m traveling with only a few set points on the calendar. My day on the Dunedin peninsula is scheduled so I can be sure to try a particular restaurant and see Yellow-eyed Penguins. Again, when I’m in Auckland, I have a few days set apart and the rest is very much open.
I realize that I’ve moved much farther than I ever intended from my redesign. I was right to think more would be possible in New Zealand than if I stayed in the United States. My return trip gives me an opportunity to reexamine my priorities and reset the clock (haha).
It may sound a little crazy but I believe God also gave me the gift of Grand Designs (on Netflix or BBC 4), Season 15, Episode 9. This episode follows a family in Hertfordshire who crafted their house for 10 years and they still were not finished. The first time I watched it I had so much judgement, and then I watched it again and I began to feel envy, and then I watched it again and I felt inspired.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how my intention to be present works out on this Kiwi Adventure. And I’m definitely not taking the watch.