04 June 2006

notes for the road

lately i've been trying to prepare for my trip. it's had me thinking about it a lot, and honestly in some ways i'm not really looking forward to it. traveling is hard work, and sometimes sort of dangerous, and exhausting, and the solitude can be lonely, and to be honest it's been three months here and it'll be almost six by the time i get home, and i sometimes miss home and friends and family and food and, well, janae. so why, exactly, am i doing this in the first place?

i think the whole world is changing a lot, and a lot of things are being left behind to make room for internets and electricity and money. in that sense, this may be my last chance to see the world as it was, and definitely my only chance to see the world as it is. i want to see what it is and what it is not, by which i mean something other than running water, very clean and straight paved roads, good food or fast food or even just food, or money or enough money, or clocks and clothes and computers and cars. something other than my home, which in some way is who i am. it's not so much that i fear that i've grown to need these things to be happy or complete or even just a bit better. i worry that where home and humanity should be, these things are. or in other words that they're becoming me. by seeing what others do without here, i see what i could do without, too. these differences between ecuadoreans and chileans and peruvians and me are probably the only way for me, anyway, to see the similarities.

travel, then, is to do without, and in so doing to learn, to know, and to remember what it is to be human, to be part of the human race, to be one of them and one of us. so i'll hit the road alone (or mostly alone), and in being one i'll hopefully become one of the many. and in being so far away maybe i'll get closer. i'll get completely lost, and perhaps find something, too.

i'm not sure why i put all this here, but i think partly i feel so privileged to be here that my receiving and taking the blessing demands an explanation. and i think partly i want you all to understand what exactly you'll be asking when you see me later and say "how was your trip?" travel is just tourism like art is just entertainment.

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