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Getting ready to move to Philly today, moving there tomorrow. It will be the 5th time I’ve changed the location where I rest my head at night in the last calendar year, not counting the couple of weeks I’ve spent at home in between. Wheew.

I’ve been having weird dreams and I feel kind of confused about Y. I keep wondering if what we had was meaningful at all to him, if he’ll actually try to stay in touch, and of course, if he cares/cared the way I do/did. I think my feelings towards him are changing and I’ve pretty much moved on. I’ve felt tortured by this question of “did it mean the same thing to him? is he also sad? did he also feed scared and confused at any part of this?” before, and the truth is, there’s really no way to answer that. The truth is that it likely meant something different to him than it did to me.  I hope that we will have a lasting friendship, and that he appreciated my small gestures towards him.  I feel like he’s kind of taking his distance and not dwelling on it too much since nothing can really be done about it.

I still have so much to prepare and I’m trying to get a sense of where all my belongings are.  Not to mention, there are books to be bought.  I’m literally about to start a new chapter, har har.  It’s a lot of change to deal with, in a short space of time.

Travel is constant, radical change. Change you signed up for, not just going with the flow of life. Also, as travel implies, it is quite impermanent.  It is constant change not just in keeping with how much you travel, but also as in nothing will get back to normal, and even if you go back, you go back changed.  I think that in some ways the desire to travel is motivated by the idea that there’s something better or something worth seeing about elsewhere, that the environment in which you’ve found yourself is not enough. At least for me, this aspect of the psychology of travel had lessened somewhat when I was in Paris. It was a big moment for me because I recognized what I had and that I could be happy staying there. I got tortured and somewhat a bit neurotic wondering what could have been if I had, and wondering if I could have had more elements of the life I wanted if I had stayed.  But the truth is, I’m gone and I’m glad I’m continuing with my program and that I will soon see Asia.

So why do I want to see the world? Because I think the whole world is worth seeing, because I want to see everything before making a decision and settling down, because I’m young, because I have wanderlust, because I fear missing out if I wait another minute.  Honestly, because I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing or a place I genuinely want to stay under the realistic conditions under which I’d stay there.

I have always hungered for change, always felt like I didn’t quite fit in, always wondered if I was missing the party packed with people who would really get me just a room away. The strange thing with travel is that not that many people are so into it that it makes it hard to connect with people on the basis of it, but also makes it easier to connect with anybody, regardless of what you have in common, on a human level.  I started to travel because I didn’t feel a sense of belonging or anything tying me down and didn’t want to miss out on what the world had to offer. At least, that’s why I did it on the neurotic side. I think that, to an extent, giving up most worldly posessions and attachments (not really, but at least not being close to the people you care about most and not really able to have a significant other or a booth at MacLaren’s a la How I Met Your Mother or a coffee shop you frequent with your gang a la Friends) in order to discover the world and to discover yourself out of the boundaries of the familiar has kind of a spiritual ring to it.  The quest continues.

Sometimes I want to settle down, because I’m excited for some of the things settling down brings, but also afraid of stagnation and routine and not getting a chance to do the things I really want to do. And the truth is, after this program, there will always be new things to see and do, and I’ll always want to see Kazakstan or Istanbul or what have you. But I don’t think I’ll feel the same push towards it. Travel was something I discovered later, and not something I always wanted. Also travel can become routine, like anything else, and the big change would be to stay in the same place for a little while longer.  I’ve got 6 months in Philadelphia to practice.

Now I realize, belonging is something that happens usually gradually, over time. You adjust to your circumstances and they adjust to you if you are willing to embrace your situation and accept it and be open towards it. And all the goth people eventually find each other on a super preppy campus, anyway.  Not that I’m goth but like finds like.

I don’t feel bad for some people who’ve never traveled who are happy. They appreciate where they are. Maybe they don’t appreciate the potential benefits of travel, but maybe they don’t need them either. But really everybody should see Europe…

So I’m about to embark on a new change.  Hoping, as always, for a better world in a way, but knowing I’m about to bring the change. Because, with the help of travel, I’ll be a better me.

Love,

MJ

 

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