(Figuratively, of course.) I totally understand this may not be for everyone, but nevertheless, I am writing to recommend seeking out the exquisite terror of willingly jumping into the abyss of the unfamiliar. There are many possible degrees in options: a tango class, a speech presentation, sky-diving. My choice is the total immersion of foreign travel. Now on the plane to spend a month in Italy, this is probably one of my tamer plunges, as friends are meeting me in Rome, one a native English speaker. However, immersion in a language I’ve been studying (with the highly recommended nagging green owl of the Duolingo App), but expect to constantly confuse with my Spanish, in an unfamiliar culture and community assures surprises from pleasant to disastrous.
A two day puppet festival in Offida, Italy is the hub of the trip. I have also made reservations for four (or was it five?) nights in Rome on my own at the tail end before I fly back. I’ll spend some time working with di Filippo Marionette company to build a shadow puppet show in Offida. And the rest of the time is open ended. Writing and drawing are priorities.
So I’m noting a few reasons why I didn’t just stay in my quiet studio to write and draw:
Necessitates living in the immediate present
Unfamiliar surroundings without a roadmap or explanation require acute observation. Busses and connections will be missed, encounters misunderstood. Anxiety about time is fruitless.
Unplanned, undesignated time deepens exploration and patience.
Time to think as you free fall.
An opportunity to listen to your thoughts, uninterrupted by commitments and obligations of usual routine allows you to question priorities, understand commitments, reconsider and choose paths.
Easier with each jump
Surmounting mysteries from acceptable attire in the Middle East, to bathroom accessories in India and other places, to strange food tasting obligations everywhere, to manners and social customs leads only to appreciation of the vast diversity and profound commonality of the people of the world.
Only certainty is that you will learn something
That’s what makes adventure.
A powerful exercise in the illogical confidence called faith.
Defying gravity, resisting common sense, soaring.
Planning to post as the trip goes on, depending on internet access. Join me.
P.S. Now on layover at JFK airport in New York, I’m observing a large group of people lined up to board a plane for Accra! Accra, Ghana!!! And I’m thinking to most of those in line, this is just a trip home, nothing exotic.