Year end musings

I am a news follower, and in 2022 there were moments and movements that moved me.

Most notable to me, as a woman, is the strength and daring of women of Iran, and their male supporters, who protested in great numbers against the oppressive misogynistic culture that dominates their world. There are still so many places on this globe where women’s lives are tightly controlled, their dreams repressed, their futures bleak.

The courage and determination of the Ukrainian people to fight the aggression of an old-style autocratic leader trying to take over their independent country, an assault marked by cruelty and widespread destruction. When I taught English in Prague years ago, during lessons on the future tense, I would ask: “What do you think will happen in the future?” My older students often grimly responded: “Another country will come to take us over.” Having ancestors from eastern Europe, I am especially touched by their struggles, hopeful those once Soviet countries can remain sovereign nations.

In my land, my gratitude goes out to Congress for legalizing same-sex and mixed-race marriage, a long overdue recognition and acceptance of the lives of so many friends and family I love. We can no longer count on the integrity of the Supreme Court, which now seems to vote its religious beliefs, stepping backward to repeal the right to abortion, rather than to uphold rights for all people, no matter their life choices or situation.

Hoping, but not expecting, that government leaders have the courage to limit gun sales and ownership in a meaningful way. I cannot understand how senseless killings, of children no less, can be allowed to continue. The Second Amendment to our Constitution was not intended to facilitate the violence among its people that we are experiencing. These terrifying shootings make us all fearful, and have branded my country as an unsafe place. Having lived abroad for many years, I recall my students’ fear to travel to the United States due to widespread violence. How could I have assured them otherwise?

I watched every minute of the January 6 insurrection committee hearings. I applaud their recommendations to the Justice Department to charge former president Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for committing crimes against the government, attempting to subvert the election process and the peaceful transfer of power, in an attempt to keep himself in power. Although I am under no illusion that these charges will result in any punishment, I respect and appreciate the integrity of the committee in their efforts to bring out the evidence to the American people. Their detailed investigation and report will ensure that those events will go down in history as important cautionary landmarks in our sometimes-fragile democracy.

As for my own life, still wary of the pandemic that circles the Earth, my wanderlust has cooled a bit. I’m not planning those long-flight over-the-ocean journeys. Instead, road trips around my own country have been calling to me, especially the U.S. southwest. I took time this past year to listen to the calming rhythm of the ocean surf and the calls of shore birds, wander among pastel desert colors, spot the rare bursts of blooms from spiky green cacti, hike red cliffs of eroding stone, commune with a bit of wildlife, and enjoy exhibits of indigenous art and pottery in adobe buildings.

May you find hope and good times this new year and perhaps some constructive challenges to keep you enjoying life. As before, this blog will continue to share some of my previous travels and more to come. I’ll leave you with a quote from artist Georgia O’Keeffe, whose desert lands in New Mexico I visited recently.

“If you can believe in what you are and keep to your line – that is the most one can do with life.”
 – Georgia O’Keeffe

My new year’s greeting and photo from a timeless place during 2018 travels:

Here’s to the new year, hope it’s a wonderful one for you! Greetings from Carthage, Tunisia

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

37 thoughts on “Year end musings

  1. I am with you Ruth. There is a lot of hope right now for the future despite the desperate times in 2022. Lets just hope that all humans will model humanity and realize the only thing that we must all agree on in this life is “Be Kind”. Happy 2023 Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year to you, Ruth, all good wishes to you. Your final photo: we walked through those very arches during 2022, after catching a train out from Tunis. It’s a stirring place with amazing views….and must have been an imposing sight for would-be invaders. Once more, a happy new year to you.

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  3. A thoughtful review of the year’s news – I can’t disagree with anything you say! Of course in the UK our news was also dominated by the death of the Queen and by the farcical succession of prime ministers – three in almost as many weeks!

    I wish you every happiness in 2023. I hope you regain your travel confidence and wanderlust as the year goes on, and that meanwhile you experience wonderful journeys in the US and share them all with us here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah, for reading and for sharing some news of your country. We have been watching those changes in the UK government and wonder what you all think. (farcical!) My essay of course is through the eyes of the U.S. and how our media represents the news from other places. I appreciate your good thoughts!

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  4. Happy New Year, Ruth. I am a news follower myself, you’ve certainly listed the most poignant moments. Being in Georgia has made me realise how real the threat of Russia is for people here. How aware of it they are on a daily basis. There is graffiti everywhere urging Russians to go home. One pharmacy chain we shop at gives out receipts topped with a statement that 20 per cent of Georgia is Russian occupied. Some stores have a sign on the door warning people: “If you agree with Putin’s war on Ukraine don’t come in”. I wish you a healthy and happy new year, full of moments of beauty and meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Leighton, and for your good wishes. I appreciate learning about the situation in Georgia. It seems fraught with fear and trepidation. I heard recently from a friend in Poland with similar comments. I hope you stay safe and have some hope for the new year.

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  5. Wise words spoken! I think we could all get a lot out of road trips and domestic travel, especially since COVID is still (and will continue to be) around. I’m limiting my international trips due to that and time, and I’m focusing more on the simple pleasures of being with my family, friends, and partner, and exploring all that my home town has to offer. Goes to show there’s a lot to see and do even in one’s own backyard! Wishing you a wonderful 2023 with plenty more road trips and reflections to be had. 🙂

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    1. I’ve been traveling extensively for about 20 years. Sometimes it’s ok to slow down a bit and enjoy what’s around you. We’ll see what the new year brings! Thanks, Rebecca, and have a wonderful year.

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  6. I’m a news follower too, but sometimes I have to take a step back otherwise I get too angry about certain topics or politicians. I like that you’ve chosen to focus on the positives and the bigger picture. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I don’t usually share my political/social views on social media, but once a year it’s good to reflect. I know what you mean about getting angry, frustrated, sad. Here’s to the positives in a new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I applaud your bravery in writing this thought provoking essay, Ruth. Ukraine still surprises me – the audacity of Putin and the resilience of the Ukrainian people. I read that there are rumblings between Serbia and Kosovo and thought, ‘not again’. Your points are all salient and I am with you with every sentence.

    My wanderlust has abated, too. I witnessed some appalling ‘post’ Pandemic behavior on my short flight to reach my husband when he had his cardiac event and no longer wish to work at the airport.

    Sending my best wishes for 2023. May the southwestern colors soothe you and brighten your spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kerry, for reading and commenting. I appreciate your sharing your own thoughts. My blog is mostly travel stories, but I feel like I need to say more about who I am and what I think at least once a year!

      We’ll see what the new year brings. I hope it will be a happy and healthy one for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am not a news follower since the beginning of 2020, when all the pandemic news were poisoning our minds, however one can’t truly live in the real world without hearing the terrible news around the world.
    But here is to a better 2023, full of health, love, kindness, and hope🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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