I've been thinking about my life right now. I'm slated to go to Africa in the next few weeks, and I'm still waiting to find out about travel in Indonesia.
More importantly, though, I have a chance to rewrite who I am, to cast a new mold for myself. I look forward to this more than the travel or the research. Or, more accurately, one of the reasons I look forward to the travel is for this opportunity. I hope to gain the benefit of two new cultural lenses, and to use the new perspective to pare away more of the bad from my life, and to develop more of the good.
I get to start afresh and create a new reputation as well, a new set of expected behaviors. I think I understand the appeal of the French Foreign Legion: no past, no expectations, except those of the army itself. Or of the Veil - no matter the mistakes from before, we have a chance to start anew. Our past still affects us, of course, but the fresh start removes us from the immediate string of our prior behaviors and leaves us only with tendencies, for good or ill.
And so, off on a voyage of self-discovery! To explore the ocean sea, to discover uncharted lands, ... to find a new world! (Sid Meier's Colonization, opening sequence)
And even if I come back immediately after Africa, let the journey continue. I come back to the poem:
Sail forth—steer for the deep waters only,
|Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,|| |
|For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,|
|And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.|
"Passage to India," by Walt Whitman
It must ever be so. If not, what is the point of life? Not to see the sights, but to become; metaphorically to travel, to explore. Even married - shouldn't each day be something of a new adventure? A new learning experience? Should I not become better each day than the day before? Should not each day help me come closer to Christ?
And so, off to the sea, to the wilderness, to the sky! I dare not rest; onward, my soul, exploring! That, quoting Longfellow, one day we may offer "from [heaven], serene and far, a voice... like a falling star: Excelsior!"