Ithaka

Ithaka

I am a slut for wanderlust, some itch infects me, puts a trembling in my legs when I think of the prospect of another year in South Korea, because at this moment with thirteen months between now and the end I am already ready to fling myself out over the world like a flying carpet, and seek new knowledge, and new adventure. Hampshire College was, despite its faults, my home, I loved it, I wanted to stay there forever, but it’s best that I didn’t, because I would have remained a weak, ignorant, and sheltered child for the whole of my life, had I remained. It’s not to say I am anything except for a child and a wide-eyed flaneur, but regardless!, whatever I am, whatever the I is, I have grown. As for Seal Harbor, there are too many lotus-eaters there; one does not live in that place, one rests, the crashing tide lulls one to sleep.

So, where to go? What to do? I thought I had left America in search of a new Ithaka, but it seems as if the only Ithaka can be found in travel, exploration, and constant movement from wonder to wonder. The idea of settling down somewhere and building or buying a house is disgusting and reprehensible to me; I must bathe, I must scrub myself raw, after I think such filthy thoughts! In that way (and in many others…) I am like Tamerlane, haw haw haw!, who built himself an entire city of shining marble but never took a break from galloping over the vastness and the fastness of his conquered Asia to visit. There are too many wonderful people to vaguely know and too many things to vaguely see to stay in one place; the world is amazing, we must suck the fruit dry before we vanish into nothing…I do think I want to end my life in a monastery, as silly as that sounds to you, but between then and now my aim is what’s over the horizon, an escape from these stale and useless Korean pedagogies—to search for Ithaka despite all my misgivings, to find, and seek, and not to yield!

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