Seeking a balance between the new and the old, exploring and keeping the comforts of everyday life.
We seek the new and the unfamiliar. A good friend of ours (A certain Mr. Fredrick Gault) once asked us why we wanted to start teleskiing when we were such good downhill skiers. And as we ski precariously balanced in the tele position, trying to stay away from inept skiers careening downhill on intermediate slopes, I ask myself the same thing.
It is the same reason why, with friends and an established, comfortable life in San Francisco, we are considering the move to another city. And why we put ourselves at a disadvantage among serious outdoor enthusiasts in the wilderness EMT class. We crave the excitement of doing something new and different and the satisfaction that results from having achieved it. These enterprises do not always result in success – my unsuccessful attempt at Aconcagua as an example – but when they do, we are enriched with new experiences. And sometimes whole new cultural worlds open up to us; learning Italian showed us entirely new aspects of food, wine, film, music, books. We could better appreciate Traviata and Turandot, Calvino and Buzzati, Fellini and Antonini.
And yet we will always need a multicultural city to live in – I cannot imagine myself living in the country for an extended period of time, beautiful as it is. We have all of our music with us, we see movies on a portable home theater setup, we seek out gourmet food and wine stores, we stay connected to friends and family over the internet. We take a little bit of our life with us.
We like to experience different cultures but enjoy the comfort of familiar activities. It is this balance of the strange and the familiar that ultimately makes us happy.