January 30, 2020

Travel Journal: Lisbon 2020

In the ongoing motif of having a personality divided along a fault line of equal and diametrically opposing forces: I love traveling and I love coming home. I love easing back into the rhythms and responsibility of my daily existence, but I also love the weird bubble of space that exists when you come back from time away and feel like huh, this is my life? Trying not to put it back together too quickly, despite the deep satisfaction I experience from integrating new things into routines. It’s the weird spaces carved out by movement and travel that have often, for me, allowed the winds of change to blow through, and yet part of me always wants to collapse them as quickly as possible.

There is a moment, for me, in any journey, where I feel I might slip the confines of my life completely. Walk away and keep going. I love objects, but they look so strange to me when I come back from traveling (often with more objects, because I love objects) – something as simple as a cup of pens on my desk becomes almost an existential crisis. I am lucky (and hardworking, but also deeply lucky) to have created a kind of home base that supports all these objects, this cup of pens. Whatever part of my genetic legacy is nomadic bucks this tendency, riots at the idea that I need more than one pen, or coffee cup, or whatever. But the part of me that has seen dramatic income insecurity craves the mythic security of excess. And the aesthete in me loves comfort and beauty and art and wants as much of it around me at all times. The survivalist in me likes shopping at Costco and growing a garden that requires consistency and stasis.

I remember and forget and remember again the metaphor of the anchor. An anchor can be – is designed to be – a thing that weighs you down, tethers you to one place. And/yet/but without one, a sea craft is basically adrift and at the whim and mercy of the current. So an anchor is also a thing that enables movement in the world, even when it feels heavy sometimes.

I could probably stand to be a little less obsessed with delicate ceramic objects, but I say that I like I have control over what I’m obsessed with.

Anyway, it’s good to be home – not least because here specifically in my home and also in Detroit more generally is where I keep a coterie of my favorite alive creatures. As usual, January in Lisbon has afforded me a new lease on winter, so I hope to see you, if you hope to be seen.

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