Because why not Geneva?
It was a Monday and as I sat in my office, I looked out the window and was seized with a fierce wanderlust. Now, these moments are not unfamiliar. As long as I could remember I have had a yearning to travel, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and adventure. I have always known that I would have regrets on the things I have done, such is an affliction of humanity, however I was determined to minimize the regrets on the things I haven’t done. This has led to mix success in my life, but what one thing I have never regretted is my travels. The places I have seen hold a special place in my life, not only for the things that they have shown me about themselves, their people, their soul, but for as much as they have taught me about myself.
So as I stared outside my window, I welcomed the familiar feeling of longing like an old friend. I pulled up a map and like a water diviner, I let my eyes roam across the map of the world, my soul guiding in divining the next stop in my restless pursuit of the world.
I mulled over the possibilities within my constraints (four days and a United Airlines route). Brazil? Munich? Quebec? Then my eyes settled on Geneva, and the dowsing rod within myself settled with a calm equilibrium. Because why not Geneva? So, by Thursday I found myself alone on an over night flight from Virginia to Geneva, thumbing through my Fodor’s Guide to Switzerland. Eight hours later, from my airplane window I could make out the jagged outline of the Alps appearing in the predawn sky, beautiful in their cold intimidation.
Geneva is called “Calvin’s City” after John Calvin. John Calvin is known as one of the co-creators (along with Martin Luther) of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin made Geneva his permanent home in 1541 and from there proceeded to develop a system of Christian theology that still stands (albeit expressed in a much less ardent form) today and bears his name, Calvinism. Calvin, Knox, Luther among other notables, are proudly displayed in the Vielle Ville in an imposing commemorative wall. Inscribed on the wall the motto is “Post Tenebras Lux” – or After Darkness, Light; which for me personally was moving.
The last few years of my life have been punctuated by more than one terrible life decision, and I have sat in the darkness of my consequences. When I decided to start traveling solo it was in order to find myself; with each trip there are fleeting “ah-ha” moments and for me my “ah-ha” Geneva moment “Post Tenebras Lux;” there is indeed light after darkness.
After spending the day in Geneva I was lucky to explore the Swiss countryside. I experienced life changing chocolate at the Nestle factory in Broc, and fondue in Gruyère that was so decadent and rich that I think world peace could be attained if more people shared a proper fondue. The last day of my trip I spent in Montreux, also known as the Swiss Rivera. Montreux is charmingly snuggled between ancient Vineyards and Lake Geneva. It was so beautiful, it literally took my breath away. If you ever happen to find yourself in Switzerland, I cannot recommend enough a visit to Montreux.
Goethe said “The highest to which a man can attain is wonder; and if the prime phenomenon makes him wonder, let him be content; nothing higher can it give him, and nothing further should he seek for behind it; here is the limit.” I think I need to be reminded that sometimes I can take blessed comfort in the simplicity of wonder; there is no end point to the journey.