Thursday, January 5, 2012


This is my first post in a long time. Sorry about that. I suppose sometimes these pauses linger for some reason or another- speechlessness, uncertainty, schedule. Then I become saddened by my lack of enthusiasm and embarrassed at having let you down, not being the faithful writer that I want to be and I feel you might want me to be, too. But I'm breaking the silence.

So much has happened since I last wrote. I've reached a turning point and have decided to move back to America. I hope I'm not too easily put off of development work; I only submitted one application to further a potential NGO career in impoverished countries. But I'm tired. I'm 24; I shouldn't be tired. But I am. There's a long list of reasons why I feel the deep and urgent need to return home, home to the sticky summers that birthed me. It wouldn't be best to laundry list them here; needing to go is enough. However, I do hope that by running back into the arms of loyal and constant friends and family, I am not running away from unknown others who need help. Somehow, despite misgivings, this feels right. I don't think I could do another term of service in a foreign land right now. Perhaps later.

I know it will be difficult to become stationary, though now I lust after it. A work that has always resonated with me in my travels is Alfred Lord Tennyson's 'Ulysses,' a poetic riff on hoary Homer's tale. It has buoyed me through journeys far and wide and speaks eloquently to the experience of the wanderer. I've taken the liberty of extracting a few bits that really strike me now. I would recommend reading the whole thing; it is beautiful. But here let Tennyson speak to what I loathe to leave:
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea...
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers.
In the Odyssey, Odyssus returns again to his home in Ithaca, joining his abandoned wife and son. Though he has seen much and been tempest-tossed to the ends of the earth, the protagonist returns home. I'm not so grand as to assume myself a hero of yore; I harbor no such delusions of greatness. But something about the story Odysseus, and the universal commonality of journeys, beckons me to yield to my instincts. Like the pulling of the tides, the sojourner must end up where he started. 

Though I grow anxious dwelling on what I will find (or might not find) in America, my friends tell me it will be a new adventure. And I want so badly to believe them. So with that I will leave you with Tennyson's closing lines:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though  
We are not now that strength which in old days  
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will  
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I hope it will be so. 

PS I will certainly continue posting; there is still so much to say and I'm not leaving yet. I just wanted to give you an update. Stay tuned for pictures from Christmas/New Years in Paris and more Cambodia stuff!


Lindsay said...

I heart you.

Steppe Up said...

Aww Rindsay! You're the best! Hope we can hang out in Atlanta.