Unsure Hypotheticals and Thoughts on Travel

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“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”

– Caesar Pavese

Alley

“Why are you traveling to Spain, to Morrocco? What is it that you seek?”

I suppose I am trying to live more fully. More intentionally. To learn how to love more deeply. To seek the heart, the desires of my maker. I am trying to lean into the curves. I seek to live a life of many pilgrimages, and I’m adding this to my list.

“Where else have you travelled?”

Oh, well, nowhere really. I drove a couple hours north of Vancouver, BC once to backpack through the mountains. Almost five years ago I left Chicago, the only home I’ve ever known, to seek the wilderness of Washington. I did not have much of a plan. I suppose I was looking for adventure, for newness. I’m still looking for those things.

“What, if any, are your reservations for doing this study abroad?”

I’m going to miss my husband. He has been incredibly encouraging about me taking this trip. We met in 2009 when I was twenty-one, we have been inseparable since. We share everything. He called me today to tell me how his croutons in his salad got soggy before he had a chance to eat it, silly, little things like that. We will have been married for two years in a couple of weeks, he is my dearest friend. I’ve experienced so much life with him, large and small. It will be odd to not have this experience with him there. I think I live a very different daily life than some of my trip-mates. I don’t know the women in our group all that well. I can be overly independent sometimes, so I know I am going to have to be mindful about building relationships.

“What do you hope to learn?”

Gosh, a little bit of everything. I know so little. And what I do think I know–I have a sneaking suspicion–will all be turned upside down. That is how it always seems to be. I’ve learned to be as open as possible, to be willing to not have any answers. I’m looking forward to experiencing Spanish and Moroccan culture. I want to practice listening well. I want to immerse myself as completely as possible in the small amount of time I have. I want to make space for my writing. I hope to be so overwhelmed with beauty and struggle that I can’t stop the words from flowing. I want to have stories to tell. I hope to learn about the sojourner, the transient, the pilgrim. And I want to become all of these things.

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