Ah! I’m devastated to have written this long post and lost it when the internet unexpectedly crapped out! But such is life on the road… Well, on the sea.
I’m sitting at the ferry terminal in Nice, just miles from the Italian border and a stones throw to Monaco. I won’t be crossing those, however, as I have a midnight ferry ticket to corsica. After a few days of short rides and luxe campsites, it’ll be a second ferry back to mainland Europe, to Genova, for a fantastic and important radical change to the trip. But more on that in a moment.
I disembarked today from the gigantic catamaran My Cherie Amour at Cannes, gripping my parents and our good friend and the boat’s skipper Ken in a goodbye hug like an eight year old being dropped off at summer camp. It was a wonderful week together, sailing the turquoise salty waves of the Mediterranean. Well, more motoring than sailing, as any winds we found were usually in our faces, but the ride was lovely all the same. We picked up together at the end of the Spanish eastern coast, sailed long and short days, ate a lot of Nutella, watched a few movies, and even entertained a convention of several dolphin pods that took a break to play in our wake. The young had no problem keeping pace with us, and off in the distance we could count nearly a hundred animals cresting the water’s surface with their mischievous fins. It was a vastly different experience than that of the three weeks prior.
Early June in Plum Village, each morning began at dawn with a bike ride to the hamlet and a silent morning meditation amid two hundred other practicing women. Vegan meals of Vietnamese design filled our bodies; lectures from thich Nhat Hanh filled our hearts and minds with more fodder than even our active bellies digested. I so needed a respite, to get off the bike and look clearly at myself, and so those weeks were both a physical relief and a rally of introspective sprints and recovery. From that work emerged a focused and deliberate awareness of my well being and especially the behaviors I often do to cover up or ignore when things aren’t right. It’s already begun to announce itself, but more on that in a moment too. Back in New York, I look forward to looking for a sangha, or mindfulness community, to be a part of, a supportive element that will be so valuable to make medical school sustainable.
Until then, I am watching groups of young European friends, sitting on giant suitcases and passing around headphones, practicing their twerking to songs they only known the English chorus of, waiting to board the ferry to corsica together. I have a few days of camping, and then I return to mainland at Genova, committing to an Italian adventure for at least a week or two.
Which leads me to announce, the most magnificent change in this journey-
I have caught a traveling partner!
Yes, someone crazy enough to join is flying to Italy for a month of adventures. Greg and I went to high school together. I asked him to senior prom by reenacting the scene from Say Anything, boombox and trench coat included; he wore a burgundy velvet coat, top hat, white slacks, and red ascot, and carried a white cane. Needless to say, I expect at least a couple of costume parties ahead of us. And a lethal amount of gelato. Once we’re together we’ll plot a journey eastward, to who knows where!
And once Greg is ready to depart, I think I’ll be making my return stateside too. At that point, Hermes and I will have covered 10,000 miles, a sizable trek for a year’s work. From there, all the rest of the miles dig into countries I just don’t have the interest or juice to endure (Iran, Turkey, and Chinese tundra at the very least; Pakistan, India, and Chinese visa issues at the other extreme). I’m ready for another lifestyle, to try new things. Maybe that adventure will take me far away again, but it’s time to give back, to pay forward, all the generously given travel karma donated to me.
Til then, let the wild rumpus begin!