T-Minus three days and counting.
I have been telling myself that on this trip, as I travel through places where no one knows me and the cultural dictates differ from here, I don't have to be anyone I don't choose to be. I can live as far outside my usual patterns as I desire.
When I examine this belief, though, I'm not sure it holds up. How much is seven weeks of travel really going to change me? I spent four-and-a-half months in Spain in college, and, thinking back, I don't know how many of my patterns changed during that time. (Granted, I was only twenty back then. Cultivating change wasn't on my radar in the same way.)
Furthermore, I've made huge changes in my life over the past year, but nevertheless more days than not I play out the same patterns as I have for the prior umpteen years.
But there is one thing. I remember this from my time in my Spain. I was walking from the metro to my friend's house for our weekly lesson exchange. (I taught him English, he taught me guitar.) His neighborhood was a relatively boring and not especially attractive part of Madrid, with nothing in particular to draw the eye, but still that was the moment that the entirety of my experience in Madrid came into a certain focus, and I said aloud, "This is the happiest I have ever been."