In eighth grade I had a Spanish teacher named Josh Wolf – or Señor Lobo as the students called him.  I can’t recall much from his classes, but I do vividly remember one lesson.

Señor Lobo was an avid traveler and frequently would talk about his adventures in class.  From the Alhambra in Granada to the running of the bulls in Madrid, it seemed that he had traveled everywhere.  One day, a student asked him why he traveled so much, which in hindsight sounds silly but at the time seemed like a perfectly reasonable question for a 13-year-old to ask.  With a twinkle in his eye Señor Lobo rose from behind his desk.

Staring down at the student who asked the question, he asked her to name the last place she had traveled to and then asked her to explain each day of the trip.  Immediately after the student’s coy response Señor Lobo jumped – “See!! You remember each day of your trip!”

With growing excitement he continued to explain his thesis:

When you travel and see unfamiliar things, your memory responds by taking in more details.  You tend to notice things that ordinarily go unnoticed and you remember more things about where you go and what you do.  This high density of brain activity and memory storage makes time pass much more slowly.  Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like months.  Quite literally, travel makes it feel like time has slowed down.

So – what does that mean?

That means the more you travel, the longer you live because travel makes time go more slowly.

At the end of his short lecture the students mused in silence for a moment before we continued on with the class.

This past weekend, Señor Lobo’s lesson shined bright in my conscience even 17 years after it was pressed into my young brain.  In just the last 14 days I’ve visited five cities across two continents, flown four times, visited one (slightly underwhelming) zoo, relaxed on a beach and driven a car onto a ferry.

I suppose it’s been an appropriate way to spend the last two weeks of my 20’s.

After all, you can’t actually slow time down, but you can make the most of each and every moment.

 

On Travel and Getting Older
Tagged on:         
  • Josh Lauren

    Beautiful! I’m glad I got to be part of some of your birthday travels, Mr. Eifler.

  • Vanina Wolf

    Very sweet piece. At once nostalgic and reflective, but also forward-thinking and hopeful. (And I love the ode to Señor LOBO ;-) Happy Birthday!

  • So happy you found this! Thanks for the kind words.

  • Of course! Wouldn’t be the same without you.

  • Pingback: Memory and Feynman | Andrew Eifler()