The soda machine theory

Travel and the Soda Machine Theory

Travel and the Soda Machine Theory

Money in, soda out-this is the typical experience with a drink machine.  But we’ve all had that sticky situation of money in-no soda out. What do you do? Do you shake or kick the machine, or do you yell or even go as far as to demand that the machine return your drink or your money back? When you place your hard earned money in that skinny plastic slot, you expect that same result that you’ve had time and time again. What happens when the result is not the same? What happens when the machine is human?

Travel changes a person. For some, we leave looking one way and return another. But for most of us, the real change happens on the inside. It’s perspective, beliefs, and thoughts that can’t be viewed by the naked eye. Returning from long-term travel and trying to fit into the same old boxes people place us is often difficult and sometimes truly impossible. We may look the same on the outside but are internally altered.

Some travel changes work for the new person in the same life. Stay in Australia for a while and you might now put fried egg atop every burger you make. Travel to Costa Rica and upon your return you might scour the shelves of every supermarket inspired by your newfound love of Lizano sauce. These changes fit. These changes seem acceptable to society at large. But what do you do about those ‘other’ changes?

For many, long-term travel showcases the lives, cultures, settings and lifestyles of other ways to live. Embracing that way of life for even a small period of time changes a person from the inside out. For some, we come home and although unfathomable to many, we quit our jobs or ditch life-long careers. We no longer accept certain attitudes and often have a newfound perspective for the actual problems in life as opposed to those we used to think of as problems. We change the way we act in situations and often have a new lease on life, greater independence and more faith in ourselves.

Our reactions, or actions (like those of the soda machine) are actually visible. Perhaps we now react differently to conversations, statements, outings or others than we used to. It’s in these circumstances that it’s difficult for others to know what to do. All of a sudden society has acted one way and instead of responding in our usual way; we’ve changed. Others weren’t on our journey but those invisible changes are now affecting them. A result of many life-changing events, I’m sure, but it’s still difficult to share all of the internal changes that have gone on in your perspective, wants, desires and those choices you’d now choose to make.

No matter the result, the struggle is real on both sides. Do your friends and family shake the machine? Do they say ‘the heck with this, I’ll just use a different one?’ Do they take the time and patience to understand the inner workings of this device and deal with the fact that the soda might never reach the tray? We’ve all had experiences with this sort of situation. For me, it took time, patience and understanding on both sides. I was the one who left and changed, and there was work needed on both sides. When the machine has made up its mind, eventually those shaking realize too and either accept this decision or don’t. This is true with drink machines and people.

What happened when you returned from your journey? Did you experience the ‘soda machine theory’?

For more of Stacey’s writings check out her website or follow her on twitter.



Posted by | Comments Off on The soda machine theory  | June 14, 2014
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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