Matt Kauffman in Jordan

Going West

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Little more than a month ago, I thought I had mapped out my plans for these two weeks between the Spring semester and our departure for Jordan. Aside from a weekend trip to Montreal, I planned to stay here in Boston and while away the hours reading, sleeping and exercising excessively (the fourth on that list — socializing — took a bit of a hit when everyone else I knew decided to go elsewhere. Talk about loyalty eh?)

It looked to be a relaxing, if altogether dull, fortnight. But then I talked with my parents in one of our bimonthly phone conversations.Between the halting chatter (I swear, sometimes talking with my mom is like conversing with an especially bad police negotiator, desperately trying to keep me on the line), they told me I was welcome to come home  for awhile.

So, eight hours after my last class I was on my way to Oregon, homeward bound.

Not only was I simply stoked to go see friends, family and get a whiff of clear, uncut Cascadia air, but going West seemed a fitting destination before heading East. I’m not one for trite maxims about the formative  power of wanderlust, about forging into the unknown to better know oneself or whatever, but I think in the back of my mind, a trip home was a way to steel myself just in case.

I wanted to experience home one more time before jetting off to a region I’d long marveled at from that safe place; like the last, deepest gulp of breath in the sustaining air before plunging underwater.

So in the six days I spent back in Portland, I tried to max out on the familiar:  pizza-making and geeking out with my sister over the latest Game of Thrones episode, taking in an epic EPL match with some friends at our favorite Bosnian bar, vegging out with the parents and tackling a hike or two in the Columbia Gorge (thus the pics!).

I did mention it was green right?

That last one was especially important to me. Everyone seems to have something that sustains them, that puts a grin on their face and makes them feel just a bit lighter than usual. For some it might be seeing and hearing live music, or reading or taking in a film. For me, it’s the chance to get out in the natural world and move through it. Walking, running, biking, you name it.

Like my reason for going home, I wanted to take a little trek to get my fill of the nature I’m used to: waterfalls, sheer buttes, thick mossy forests, and green, so much green. I’m excited to see the landscapes of Jordan, which I imagine will have a stark, desolate beauty to them and I wanted a fresh contrast in my mind.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt a sort of mental tug of war between the place I’ve come from and the places I want to go and it’s only intensified the further I’ve gone. I expect nothing less from Jordan.



Written by kauffmant

08/05/2012 at 5:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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