My hubby grew up in the countryside and was a farm boy before he went to college. He often talks about his childhood with nostalgic sentiment. He had worked in the rice paddies, raised pigs and goats, and tended the orange trees. Whereas I was a city girl, living in a crowded apartment complex surrounded by people, shops, and street vendors. It seems to me that he had lived an idyllic childhood, in a wide open space with strikingly beautiful scenery, like what I have often seen in pictures or paintings – green or yellow rice paddies depending on seasons, boundless pastures for grazing cows and goats , and lustrous green foliage dotted with orange fruits. I know the image I have conjured up from his description is sugar-coated and idealized. As matter of fact, the farm life then was harsh, poor, and insanitary, and his childhood’s dream was to move out of the farm and become a city dweller.
Perhaps my hubby’s childhood experience had shaped him as a “man of nature”. He is such an avid nature lover that every year he has to spend a couple of weeks in nature. Although I am also in awe of nature’s beauty, I am not a huge fan of the activities that require a lot of physical exertion. But every year, my family went along with him, because I know he has a stressful job, demanding boss, and intense work environment, and needs to get away from his job once in a while, to rejuvenate his body, invigorate his spirit, and refresh his mind.
For the past 10 years, we have visited many national parks in the U.S., Canada, and China, and this year we just came back from Jasper National Park and Banff National Park of Canada. Before the trip, my hubby and I made an agreement to take a break from visiting national parks next year, so we tried to savor the every moment of the trip this year, enjoying trail-hiking, mountain-climbing, sight-seeing, hot pool-soaking, et al. It was indeed a good mental break.