“Why did I spend over a week’s salary for a trip to a place I’ve already been to two years prior?” This was a thought that somehow echoed in my mind throughout my second trip to the mount Pinatubo crater lake. Of course, it didn’t help me at all that my colleagues (all first timers) swore never to undertake the 14-kilometer trek again. I was, after all, just filling in a slot to bring down trip expenses… Well, at least, that was how I initially saw my role in the trip.
Before, I frowned at the thought of re-reading books that I’ve finished cover-to-cover, or re-visiting sights that I’ve been to before. The former, because it takes time and supposedly, I’ll learn nothing new; the latter, because it takes both time and money with presumably diminishing marginal returns.
Recently, however, I found myself constantly re-listening to audio books, re-reading some books on my cobweb-ridden shelf, and yes, going to places I’ve been to before.
The general question therefore is, what benefit can we gain from revisiting things? Perhaps the simple answer is that things aren’t always the same. Allow me to relate it the Pinatubo example:
I realized that though I was visiting the same crater lake, I used a different mode of transport overall (partial commute instead of fully chartered vehicle). Second, I was with a different set of people. Third, the path to the crater had changed due to consistent erosion. Thus, the overall experience had changed. Below are some of the new “things” for this trip:
- Being able to meditate or study God’s word inside the bus at 2am, since my seatmate was a stranger
- Being the only customers in a 200+ seating capacity McDonald’s store at 4am
- Experiencing the real, crazy, serious, and profound sides of my co-faculty who have definitely watched far too many fiction/fantasy movies.
- Seeing all sorts of weird people who do not seem to know what hiking attire should look like (from skimpy, G.R.O. wear to semiformal long sleeves).
- Seeing a quarrel between two foreigners who literally needed “space”, measured in kilometers (the man ran away from the tour guide and the girl he had a quarrel with, overtaking us and swiftly heading towards the where the trucks were parked – 5 kilometers downhill).
- Eating twice in the same McDonald’s outlet in less than 12 hours.
- Standing for about an hour inside the bus on the way home (not really an issue if not for the fact that most of us just wanted to sleep after the long walk)
The trip, after all, wasn’t just about seeing thousands of hectoliters of water surrounded by a giant sand castle, as it was about bonding with and getting to know my colleagues outside the four walls of our office, and yes, sowing our department’s craziness to the far flung regions of Tarlac and Zambales. This time around, indeed, the trip was more about the journey than the destination.
Whether it’s reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation a second time, listening to Stephen Covey for probably a hundred times, or re-visiting mount Pinatubo again, the internal and external contexts of our lives change at each point or “visit”. It may be that we are able to understand some new things about what we have just read or experienced – seeing things we overlooked before, highlighting thing that didn’t pop out before, understanding things we used to not fully grasp.
Whatever the case may be, it’s not so bad to re-visit such things. Just now, I found myself staring at my bookshelves and mentally selecting books to put on queue… again.
So, take this time to think about what you need/want to re-visit, I’m sure you won’t regret it.