the unexpected benefits of travel

I hate travel.
And I think I recognized that early on, and also that
that hatred throws a person into a kind of clarity
that is never achieved at home, in the same old overcoat.
You always feel when traveling that you have the wrong clothes
and the wrong face
and the wrong accent
and it’s good to dislodge all of those categories.

So I remember the first trip to a very different place
was a trip I took to Rome.
And I wrote an essay about that.
And it was so horrible
that I really thought I would never leave home again.
But I did learn from doing that
to take notes on the horror while it’s happening.

I also remember that the reason why I wrote an essay about that
because on the plane trip home–
I think it was Air Italia
they had a whole lot of magazines
and the stewardess let me cut them up
and made a kind of storybook of the horrors of the trip
and then when I got home
I added some words to the pictures and it turned into an essay.
So I mean, travel has these unexpected benefits.

-in conversation with Anne Carson


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