Each of us has a place, a time, or a talent where we find ourselves at our most authentic – the outdoors, an athletic field, plucking at the strings of an heirloom guitar. For me, “Me” exists best when I’m far away from the expectations of who others expect “Me” to be.
In China I can be vivacious and charming, assuming the role of the cheerful, charitable American; in New York I can be shrewd and cynical, unencumbered by the niceties that are necessities in the Western US; and in Europe I can drink wine with breakfast and smoke a cigarette for dramatic effect.
All of these personas are facets of me, but parts of me that only exist in the times when others expect me to assume that role.
I’ll be heading back to Asia soon, a continent where nothing is familiar, and as a silly Bule, nothing is expected of me. I can loose myself in the unfamiliar sights, and scents, and sounds of the exotic Orient, then stumble into Starbucks for the shocking familiarity of home.
Predictably, unpredictable as this next trip will be, I’ll also find the familiar. I’ll surround myself in the silence of solitude
, the frustration of losing my bearings, and that perfect moment when I find that through it all, “Me” was waiting to keep me company, and guide myself home again.