By Saheli Nath, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management
I love to travel and for those of us who do so, perhaps we can identify with the familiar itch for the odyssey that comes with being a member of the club of hodophiles, from the Greek word “hodos”, or journey, and “philia,” meaning affection (does that perhaps sound like an affliction that you won’t need a cure for?).
During my short neighborhood walks, I like to look for the hidden trail that seems less traveled, refresh my eyes with the gorgeous greens and reds of the leaves and the vivid blue of the sky, and breathe deeply. Sometimes I take a snap of the colorful flowers or fruits that I cannot recognize and use my convenient PlantNet app to identify them (it’s fun to learn something new every day!).
During the weekends, I go for long drives, exploring the parks and trails in Edmond and beyond. E.C. Hafer Park, Mitch Park and Whispering Heights Park are my favorites in Edmond, while the Martin Park Nature Center and the Stars and Stripes Park are the regular haunts in Oklahoma City.
As I interact with nature, I feel awe, joy and love for the beautiful earth we live in. And I take several moments to appreciate the wonderful public art that we have around – think Sacagawea by Glenna Goodacre in Mitch Park and the Arc of Peace by Lorri Acott in Hafer Park (a big thanks to our amazing artists for showcasing our history and adding a unique flavor to our community!).
As human art intertwines with nature, I feel as if I am part of a different kind of conversation, couched in the lap of our local history and culture. Just like that, a connection between the past and the contemporary – between humans and nature – is forged.
Over the longer holidays, my wanderings can take me as close as the Sandia Peak Tramway in New Mexico or as far as the Niagara Falls in Buffalo. Before the pandemic hit, I would even venture abroad to places like the Grotta Azzurra – a sea cave in Italy, and Tonlé Sap – a freshwater lake with floating villages in Cambodia.
As I explore different places, embrace the unknown, experience the kindness of strangers and immerse in new cultures, I am able to unplug, relax and re-discover myself. Finally, when I am back to my home, to my regular commute, and to my work as a professor, I feel immense gratitude – for the beauty and kindness the world has shown me, and for every one of you, who have helped to make this world a more beautiful and much kinder place.