We have a screened lanai off our living room. Occasionally I will look out and see several butterflies trapped inside the screen, fluttering desperately, trying to get out of their cage. Some will stay within a short radius and try the same spots over and over. Others will fly from one end of the lanai to the other resting only for a second before they try again. Having broken out of their cocoon somewhere inside the pool cage they know there is more just beyond the screen. I open both doors to the lanai and place a plate of flowers sprinkled with sugar water on a table hoping to give them nourishment while they search.

Some make it and others I find laying on our pool deck their beautiful wings intact, motionless.

One day I spotted two butterflies and immediately went outside. They were low enough on the screen that I thought I may be able to catch them. I didn’t have to because as soon as I got close one of the butterflies landed on my shoulder as if it knew I was there to help. I walked out the screen door and it flew away. Freedom.

One of the reasons I enjoy traveling is because I feel like those trapped butterflies when I am in one place with the same routines for too long. I feel as though I switch between a narrow vision of seeing only the same sections of screen to the wild butterfly that flies from one end to the other but is still in the same place.

Traveling forces me to see a larger view of the world and life outside my caged existence. Often I must rely on other people for help and guidance. This teaches me to have an open heart and to trust those who are different from me. I come home refreshed with a better understanding of where I am and where I wish to go on my life journey.

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