In one of my very first blog posts I posit: “If it is true that ‘It is not necessarily at home that we encounter our true selves,’ I wonder if when we travel and encounter our true selves, if we can bring that self home, back to the cube?”
To which I and Johann Wolfgang Goethe have an answer. Goethe writes in Italian Journey, “I can confess it now: finally I could no longer bear to look at a Latin book or the picture of an Italian scene. My longing to see this land was more than ripe. Only now that it is satisfied have my friends and fatherland truly become dear to me again. Now I look forward to my return, indeed all the more so because I feel very certain that I shall not be bringing all these treasures back just for my own possession and private use, but so that they may serve both me and others as guidance and encouragement for an entire lifetime.”
What is the self that I encountered while traveling? She was aware, engaged, negative stress-free, adventurous, excited, in community and conversation, open to what London and Rome had for her, vulnerable with friends, kind, caring, curious, hopeful, observant, reflective, willing to take (smart) risks, energetic, active, loving to the self and others. I liked her. A lot. And I intend to share who she is with the world I left here while I went abroad; a world that may not have changed as much as I did, but who I come back to changed.
Near the end of the trip, I felt ready to come home, but I also knew that I would be leaving again, and hopefully sooner rather than later. One of the biggest metamorphoses for me was the stripping of ideas that I had built around myself about myself and who I could be and what I would do. I left behind parts of myself in London and Italy, to be recycled as the Romans do (thoroughly and probably to be turned into art).
There was a full-moon on the night we went to Frascati. Auriana and I joked that the transformation of our selves would be complete. What I realize now is that the trip was only one part of a lifetime of transformation of the self and though the current confines of American culture may try to snub my spirit, I don’t have to let it and I don’t have to live the way I’ve been socialized to.