Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TNC on Wanderlust

I really liked these sentences from Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the terrifying and thrilling adventure of immersing yourself in a foreign country where you don't speak language:  
There is something about being down, about being lost, about being estranged that is narcotic. It is that hit of fear you get the first time you swim in the deep end and understand that your feet can not touch the bottom. 
So I blame it all on my wife. But I specifically blame this post on Jim and Deb Fallows, who are heroic to me and my small family, who are, together, our own Gandalf. I don't want to go into other people's business. But I think it's public information that they have made a life together, raising children and traveling the world. I didn't even know people who knew people who did things like that. And now it is so much of what I want. I blame them for talking to me about it and urging me and Kenyatta on. You can't hear them and not feel the glamour. It is the sorcery of the wide world. It is the song of the wanderers. It is the knowledge of a one-shot life. Who can truly live, hear such music, and decline to dance? 
Every time I've moved abroad, the first week was lonely and terrifying, so much so that I'm surprised I ever left my cocoon.  But having endured, and then emerged to experience the exhilaration of exploring a new culture and language and place, I can't ever go back.  These are some of the best memories I have, and I'll spend the rest of my life chasing new ones.  

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