Monday, December 10, 2012

Finding a Suitcase Heart

"They should tell you when you're born: have a suitcase heart, be ready to travel." –Gabrielle Zevin

This will be my last blog, because in less than a week, I'll be flying back across the Atlantic. Part of me wishes that I could continue traveling through Europe, and continue having this great adventure that I feel like I've been on these past few months. At the same time I am eager to reach the Boston airport, where I know I will be minutes away from my friends and family, not to mention my favorite coffee chain.

Throughout the semester, I've been on a journey to understand the purpose of travel, or more so what it means to stand in awe wherever you may be.  I admit, more than once I've grown nervous that trips and vacations hold no other purpose than to shop and eat in a different location. I've feared that the smallness of the world had made it loose its shine, and made me question my desire to explore its corners. Upon confessing this to a good friend, he asked me if I had ever seen a shepherd leading his herd through the streets back home. After scoffing at the fact that I had indeed not made some unique, existential discovery, I decided to spend more time looking back on the times I have stood in awe this semester.

I stood in awe when I saw the Parthenon standing before me on Fall break, as I reflected on the history that was made under my feet.

I stood in awe at the Black sea in Constanta, as I saw wild dolphins swim in the neighboring inlet.

I stood in awe at Ellie Wiesel's childhood home in Sighet, as the first novel I ever read about the Holocaust came alive.

And I stood in awe the other day, looking up at the mountains in Lupeni, as lo and behold a farmer lead his heard of goats right outside my apartment door.

I'm still not sure if I understand what it means to have a suitcase heart, but I long to stand in awe of both new and old places and faces, and I’m starting to understand that the world is as big as I want it to be.


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