It’s a journey.
You go into uncharted territory
Where you have to explore
Climb unknown mountains
Figure out how to cross raging rivers
And cross white-capped seas.
You spelunk into the depths
Of subterranean realms
And learn how to fly in vast open skies.
You struggle over rocky terrain
Through coarse sands and unforgiving heat
And you must figure out how to survive.
You must learn the landscapes
And the seascapes and the hidden pathways
And the open roads
And the histories
And the stories of those places.
You must try the foods and smell their strange flowers.
And doing all of this changes who you are.
It makes you an expert of height and depth
And width and breadth
And a guide to others.
The landscapes and the scents
And the sounds become a part of you
And you learn to stand in the shoes of those
Strangers in strange lands,
To know what they know,
To feel what they feel.
You have sights and sounds
Smells and tastes and touches
Stored in your memory
That ripen with time.
You know things in your bones
Because you worked to know them.
You are real because you have really worked
You could fake it.
You could forge a passport.
Take photos of yourself
In front of a green screen
And just pretend you’d been there.
You could get plastic food,
Hold it to your mouth as if to eat it,
And throw it down after the shot is taken.
You could pretend you’ve
Flown and swum and dived and climbed
The skies and rivers and caves and peaks.
You could fool everyone.
You could become part of the
And get your Certificate of Completion.
But you would be same old you,
Except that before maybe you knew nothing
But now, all you know
Is how to cheat.