In the air

So, here I am now.  Traveling alone to Europe, landing in Barcelona in mere hours.  It’s a dream come true to be traveling alone like this, but it is also terrifying.  It seems that the older I get and the more “adult” I become, the more cautious I am as well.  I look back now at some of the reckless things I did when I was younger– hopping on a series of Greyhound buses on a Labor Day weekend when I was eighteen, traveling through the Deep South during the whole eerie night, alone and penniless– and I simultaneously rejoice and cringe.  There is something mysterious about the loss of youth, and I haven’t yet decided if it’s for good or not.  There is certainly something good about getting past the stupidity and vicissitudes and self-obsession, but there is also a shedding of innocence and wonderment that I’m not so sure about.

There are certain things that I’ve already learned about this sort of travel that have already been manifest.  Learning from my last transatlantic flight near-dehydration in 2006, I now sit with an enormous bottle of water in the seat pocket in front of me.  And I packed very light.  My actual backpack is heavier than the combined contents inside of it.  The trip is well-planned, and I sort of know what to expect in terms of overcoming language barriers and outsmarting pickpockets and finding good, cheap food.  But, of course, the last time I took a trip to Europe, I had my best friend with me, helping me sort all of that out.  This time, I am alone.  Sort of.

I would be foolish not to notice that I am surrounded by people.  So, maybe I am not alone.  And I have friends and family back home who are thinking of me and praying for me.  So, maybe I am not alone.  And I have my own thoughts and my own experiences and my own self to keep me company.  So, maybe I am not alone.  And, also, if I am honest, I hope– I pray– that my solitude in this journey would allow me to quiet my soul long enough to hear that still-small voice of a God that I so truly yearn to know and love.

“Am I the object of delight to the object of my delight?”  Maybe I am not alone.


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