Late afternoon at Waikiki Beach

For the second time in my life, I am in a different time zone. This picture is of another sunset, different from the ones I’ve been used to.

I realize now the aphrodisiac that travelling is to writing. It’s that feeling of alienation (a fish out of water, as the cliche goes) that enables you to look inside yourself and examine your life, your body in relation to those around you. Stephen King said that writing is really thinking that has been refined. And being with the unfamiliar; splitting from the comfortable and homey, forces one to think.

People I know and love have embraced this alienation without organized introspection. That is what frustrated my mother about them. My dear dead departed mother (“dead” and “departed” are redundant in the same sentence but I like the alliteration!). The first time I set foot in a foreign country, I felt so smug and superior to her who had never even had a passport. I wanted to gloat — I had this experience, I saw such things and felt a different air than what we have been breathing all our lives. She hadn’t. But then, maybe in the end, she really knew more than she let on. She made her choices, lived (and died) by them and (according to the letter she wrote a week before she expired), she had no regrets.

I want to live a life with no regrets. That’s why I am here now, despite the relatively gargantuan expense it entailed. I consider it part of my education and the cost was part of the tuition fee.


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