Monthly Archives: October 2011

Exploring…The Navel

I feel irrationally blue today. I’d rather feel like blue topaz. Or sapphire blue. Something sparkly. Irrationally blue is the blue of the blahs. The blue of five consecutive days stuck on a ship with absolutely nothing to do. And too much time to think.

I mean, it’s beautiful out here. I’m a sea-girl, I need to live near water. The rocking can be soothing (or not…). But at a certain point. Jesus Christ. Water water everywhere and I don’t even have a surfboard or something.

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that I don’t think I could have been an explorer. Your Columbuses, your de Gamas, your Corteses, even your Pilgrims…I wouldn’t have run with those gangs. The great unknown…totally freaks me out.

Let’s not kid around. This trip is 13 days long, on an enormous tricked out vessel designed to keep you fed and entertained. I can at least get out and take a bit of a walk. Or get on a treadmill and work out the restlessness. Those early travelers went to sea for MONTHS. In tiny wooden vessels. Powered by fickle winds alone.

I am a pussy.

I’m not proud of the fact that I’m underwhelmingly curious. Or courageous. I’m not alive with the sense of infinite possibility. It boggles my mind that men got into their little tinker toy ships with absolutely no. Idea. What the fuck was out there. And thought: “Yes, I want to see. I want to know for myself the shape and breadth of this earth we live on.”

I mean, thank goodness for their adventurous spirits. The uncomfortableness of Manifest Destiny aside, without them Europe would be a lot more crowded, and it’s bad enough in Florence in July. But seriously, without any certainty that they’d find anything, constantly hounded by fears of capsizing and scurvy and running out of food and hostile peoples on distant shores and sea monsters that could eat their boat in a single gulp (they didn’t know, did they? No. They didn’t.): they took a giant leap of faith.

Maybe it was all megalomania. It must be nice to plant a flag and name shit after yourself.

But I think it’s lovely. Poetic. I think it was fueled more by an exuberant sense of discovery and wonder.

I find that sense pretty awesome. And I just so thoroughly lack it, sadly. I know exactly how long it’s going to take to get where I’m going and I’m still on the verge of clawing my eyes out.

The phrase “uncharted territory” just makes my stomach turn. I could hate myself for it, or just accept it as one facet of who I am. I could have been a wife of an explorer. Waiting and worrying at home. I would have excelled at that, really nailed the worrying part. Embrace your talents, right?

Anyway, here’s where you come in. In a world powered by indifferent nature, without Google maps or vitamin supplements or five seasons of The Wire to pass the time, do you think you would have had what it takes to go out and explore this planet we live on? Would sailing the seven seas with just the stars and a compass have appealed to you? Would the bragging rights have made it worth it? Does your sense of the unknown and infinite terrify you? Or does it turn you on?

Tell me. I want to know. I’ve been talking to the same 20 people for 10 days, I’d like some new conversational partners…please.

Categories: Fluff and Philosophical Nonsense | 5 Comments

Gratitude Schmatitude

My head has been pretty far up my own ass the past few days thinking some heavy thoughts, which I’m still trying to figure out how to articulate. I need a break, so I’m going back to basics. I left home five months ago today, and I’m going to take the time to reflect on all the experiences I’m so grateful for in that time. If I could bottle these moments, people, (food products), I would. For all the hiccups and heartaches, the universe has been good to me.

1. A dear friend and her Twilight obsession, which took me places I never would have gone otherwise.

2. That red-headed girl I met at the end of my first week, who has been good and true ever since.

3. Caravaggio and Bernini, Bernini and Caravaggio. Sometimes beauty is truth.

4. Buffalo mozzarella. Dear god, I will never eat like this again.

5. A glorious day spent on the fastest speedboat in Capri.

6. Learning (finally) to enjoy wandering alone.

7. A renewed appreciation for the music of the Beatles.

8. Sunlight sparkling on turquoise water. So. Many. Pictures…

9. Learning to play shuffleboard. And my two favorite shuffleboard buddies, who took care of me when I needed it most.

10. Meat. I have never liked red meat. And now, thanks to Moderno, nothing makes me happier than to eat so much I weep meat tears.

11. I could probably create an entire list just of favorite Slam Allen moments. But Slam jumping from the floor onto two chairs while wailing his heart out tops that list.

12. More than one crazy night watching the ship pull into Barcelona.

13. Orange gazpacho served in a wine glass: perfection.

14. The Notagains. Especially doing the tranistion into M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and a bar full of people shooting finger guns into the air.

15. The dusty sunlit hush of a museum.

16. A day spent in Palma physically storyboarding a film called “The Brown Identity.”

17. Watching the world wake up from a wooden train to Soller, mountains and ocean all tied together.

18. Gelato. Duh.

19. Park Guell with one of my best friends in the world, who flew all the way from Dublin, just to see me for the day…

20. Cigarettes and conversations until 8am…

21. The return of The Muse. I missed writing…

There are more. It’s just all still a blur right now. But the list will continue to grow. I can’t ever regret I did this.

Categories: Fluff and Philosophical Nonsense | 1 Comment

Endings Are a Bitch

It’s a funny little week I’m having.

It’s my last week in Europe and instead of going out and experiencing things for the last time, saying goodbyes to places I’ve grown to love, checking the final things off my list of “to-do”…I’m sitting on the ship thinking about how I SHOULD be doing all that.  The distance between thought and action is a canyon.

I didn’t see the David. There are about 11 Caravaggios I wanted to stand in front of and contemplate that I missed. I didn’t buy a leather jacket. I never went back to find that crazy Mad Madam Mim bag. I didn’t make it to Cinque Terra.

I’ve managed to have so many adventures that I haven’t even had time to write about them. But now, when it’s down to the wire, last minute, crunch time, my goal-oriented nature has abandoned me and I’ve already checked out. It would be so easy to finish up some things on my list but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

I can’t even make myself get off the ship to eat Napoli pizza one last time. And you know there’s a problem when food can’t motivate me…

At a certain point you just have to accept that it’s enough. I did enough. I could have done more. But I. Did. Enough. I saw so much, learned so much, ate so much. I have some tremendously beautiful memories, which I gratefully accept as inspiration to write, to purge my brain, to really dig into what all this actually meant.

I have this problem with seeing the end coming so far out that it’s all I can focus on. I can’t live in the moment right up until the last moment because I’m so aware that last moment is nigh. I hate endings. I don’t handle them well. So maybe that’s why all I want to do is sleep this week. I want to lay in my cave and think bittersweet thoughts about all I’ve seen and done and all I haven’t seen and done. I’m gearing up for a lot of goodbyes in the next few weeks, with some people who’ve been the best to me on the ship, and I’m so torn between the joy of getting ever closer to going home and the sadness of leaving people who, for better or worse, are part of my daily life now.

I’m an emotional pinwheel right now, blowing around and around, feeling it all, unable to stop spinning.

I wonder when the time comes to sign off if I won’t feel a little like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption. This is certainly not home but I honestly don’t know if I can survive in the real world anymore.

Luckily I have five weeks after my un-Titanic experience to lay on the beach and do more contemplating. Thinking about the ways this experience has stretched me to my limit and made me better. And ways I’m still so clearly the same it’s time to accept and embrace the fundamentals of me-ness.  No rushing around trying to see and do. Just melting into a tan puddle and enjoying an entirely different kind of experience. And hopefully rejuvenating myself to return to the mad dash of New York.

I’m sad that my European adventure is coming to an end.  I love it here, and there truly is still so much to experience. But I’m also ready to go home. I’m ready to get back to real life. I’m ready for forward momentum into the future. This has to end in order for me to get back to that.

Still. I feel funny. I feel raw, and on the edge. In a good way.  It’s only at the end that you get to see how far you’ve come. And it’s better to have the bittersweet pain of missing things and people than not, because it proves you’ve experienced something, hopefully meaningful. People and places have touched me, and it stabs at my heart to let it all go, but yeah. That’s the pleasure/pain kiss where I know I’m really, fully alive. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Categories: Fluff and Philosophical Nonsense | 2 Comments

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