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“My spirit gets nourished in faraway places. Sometimes I wonder if it's a biological need, perhaps a biological flaw, that compels me to seek the excitement and challenge that comes of being in a place where nobody knows me.
Other times I think that my compulsion to settle into communities that are different from the ones I know is related to my passion for experiential learning. I learn best and most happily by doing, touching, sharing, tasting. When I'm somewhere I've never been before, learning goes on all day, every day.”
“As an observer, I am particularly interested in watching women, married, divorced, single. So many of them trapped in lives they think they must live, in roles they have come to resent, with little job and no laughter. They've "settled." They've compromised. They've learned to adjust.
Among the divorced, many are bitter, coloring their lives with resentment; others live only to meet the man who will complete them.
I have no intentions of adjusting, and I am not looking to define myself by the man I am with. The new me is feeling rebellious, looking for excitement, bursting with energy to explore. There is no way that I am going to sit around feeling sorry for myself, thinking that the only way I can enjoy life is with a man.
With no possessions, no home, and no precedent, I am free to design a life that fits me. Best of all, I have tasted the life I want. My Mexican adventure opened me up. I want more. During my four months away, I met interesting people, I was never bored, and I laughed more than I had in years. I resolve to continue exploring the world, ignoring the THEY who define how people should live.”
“I have buried my fears, abandoned self-consciousness, and allowed myself to slide into sensation. I like the person I have become.”
“When we are finished the little boy walks over to me and looks up at my chest. Then he reaches up and cups my breast in his hand. The mother comes over and does the same thing with my other breast. Yes I am the same I nod. Look. I pull up my shirt and unhook my bra. My breasts pop out and they both smile.
I think about the Zapotec village in Mexico where I was not accepted until I was wearing their clothes and the Balinese ceremonies I would never have attended in anything but a kebaya and a sarong. I smile when I realize that if I were to live here I would walk around topless. If I weren't with three westerners I would do it right now.”
“But I'm not running away. I'm running toward... toward adventure, toward discovery, toward diversity. And while I was in Mexico I discovered something intruiging: Once I leave the U.S., I am not bound by the rules of my culture. And when I am a foreigner in another country, I am exempt from the local rules. This extraordinary situation means that there are no rules in my life. I am free to live by the standards and ideals and rules I create for myself.”
“I feel no guilt as I demolish some long-cherished no-fat rules along with the chicharrón. I’m not sure why I am guilt-free. Perhaps it is the setting; rules tend to reduce their grip when you cross borders. Perhaps it is the chicharrón, crunchy, light, and bacony; it’s easy to put aside guilt in the enthusiasm and taste of the moment. But more likely, the joy I feel at this guilt-free moment is a sign that I really have peeled away the old and begun the process of self-discovery.”
“The typical backpacker is unmarried, educated, but not yet on the career track. Among the backpackers, there are always a lot of young Europeans who work for a year or two at home, save their money, then travel until it runs out. Canadians and Australians are also backpack travelers; so are Israelis, taking a year off after serving in the army, and New Zealanders on their great “OE,” overseas experience. There are Americans as well; but the Americans are usually on a tighter schedule, and I find them less friendly, at least to me.”
“She is learning toward me, animatedly asking questions, and he is a half step back. It happens three more times that night and many times over the next years. Usually it's the women who identify with me and ask the questions. It isn't the details of my travels that intrigue them; it's the fact that I am living a rich, fulfilling life. And I'm doing it without a man. For many women, my story awakens buried dreams or stimulates new ones.”
“I have never tried anything psychedelic, but I’ve always wanted to. Would I be wrapped up in colors, attacked by sounds, filled with insights about worlds I don’t even know exist?”
“Perhaps it is the setting; rules tend to reduce their grip when you cross borders.”
“You can ask or demand anything of me, but never to let you die without trying to save you. The day you die, I die.”
“the spectator is the true vanishing point”
“Does an iris,” he asked, tracing such a flower on the wall, “seek to repay the sun which gave it life? No, the mere beauty of the iris is tenfold thanks enough, for each day the sun can see the wonder it created.”
“No, but I am,’ Elliot says, quick as a flash. ‘That’s why I need Penny’s help.’ ‘Oh.’ Dad frowns and scratches his head. He doesn’t look convinced at all. ‘Well, when you’ve sorted your French crisis, come down and have some breakfast. I’m making eggs over easy,’ he says in an American accent, ‘and we need to talk about New York.’ ‘Will do,’ I call over my shoulder as Elliot and I race up the second flight of stairs. As soon as we’re in my room, I shut the door tight. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ Elliot says. ‘I was too embarrassed.’ I sink down on to”
“If you’d wanted to get married with your feet on the ground, then you should have said something.”
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