There's no place like home?

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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   Well folks, I have safely returned from 5 weeks of travel, back to LA and the strange world I consider my normal life.  And the strangest thing is that as soon as I unpacked and settled in, it was as if I never left; everyone here continued about their business, mail and bills came, and I was of exploring the world.  I find that I'm struggling to hang on to the feeling, the joyous thrilling nature of travel, the exquisite uncertainty of not knowing what I'll find everytime I walked outside, hopped on a train, or entered a new city.  All the amazing sites and smells and people I got to know and experience are fading some as I plan my next day, week, month, year.  The only thing that remains is the sense of ease, the tiny calming notion that if I can travel completely alone without knowing anyone, speaking the native language, or being at all familiar with the cities I was visiting, that nothing else feels impossible, if not simply easy.  And if I can take chances, explore, not hold back for just those few weeks of travel, how much easier should it be to take risks and not hold back every day.  This is my life I'm living, and assuming this is the only one I have (all speculation to the afterlife aside), I need to be taking more advantage of my time.  If I have an opportunity do something fun and different, I need to just do it, even if it makes me more stressed or makes other things more difficult.  Big whoop, I'll deal.  If I have the chance to learn something new and exciting, I should jump at the opportunity and not analyze everything to death.  It's smart to be aware and be prudent; it's idiotic to never act because you are afriad of what might happen...that's a good way to ensure that nothing special ever does.
   I suppose that's the best way to keep all the amazing memories I have from these last weeks with me.  I'm just going to continue on the amazing path I started myself on, but try to experience everything I can possibly handle, whether it's an extra night with friends, an extra weekend or Shabbat away, an extra seminar, an extra book/article, or just some extra time outside relaxing.  Plus, I can always have a ticket in hand to the next place ;).
   The world is to big not to explore.  I consider myself a moderately well-traveled person, but you can see on the map that I've only been to 6% of the countries in the world!!!! That's absurdly low and unacceptable.  But hopefully, I have an entire lifetime to see and experience all that this world has to offer.  I'm sure that not all trips will go as smoothly as this.  I'm sure I'll get ripped off or lost or mugged or miss flights/trains/boats.  But that's the risk you take when you commit to the Journey.  And now I think I can actually do it right.
   Special thanks needs to be given to all the people who made this trip for me.  For Matt, who guided my through the complex world of European night trains.  For my favorite Flourentine Israeli, who made me feel at home in a city full of some of the most famous cathedrals and tombs in the world.  For Ryan, for making Rome come alive and taking me on adventures I would have never thought to find myself.  Por Jose y los espanoles, para su comedia y todas los experiencias con comida, caminos, y carino.  For Tom and Jane, who summered in the south of France with me and shared some frisbee and drinks on the beach.  For Elana and Renee, who rocked Paris with me from noon til the wee hours of the morning and kept me laughing end enjoing the whole time.  For all the Londoners, Elana, George, Molly, Julie, Sonya, Natalie, and many others for an incredibly fun and unforgetable time.  Especially to Sharai, for guiding me through the tough times, showing me amazing insider European sites and foods (especially the foods!), and for giving me the courage I couldn't find on my own.  For Kitty, who gave such great encouragement and loving words.  For my parents, for being the most faithful readers of this blog and not freaking out too much and dealing with my probably nerve-rackingly long trip.  And lastly to my Gramps, who I miss dearly, and who made this trip possible.
   I hope that this blog as been enjoyable for those of you who have been reading.  It  most certainly enhanced my traveling to document what I was seeing, doing, and feeling, even though some entries were incomplete/deleted/altered.  I'm glad you all could come with me on this journey.  Please, I urge you to go explore yourself, and if it takes years to get the free time or save the money, any new place you explore will only enhance your understanding and connection to this unfathomably large and complex world we all share together.  So get going...and let me know what you find out there.

Bye for now,
Au revior,

Scott Shafrin
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