This summer, a lot of attention has been placed on Elizabeth Gilbert's travel memoir, Eat Pray Love, and its subsequent movie. Some critics and reviewers have had a bit of a problem with the whole "drop everything and dash off to a different country to 'find yourself'" theme, with one writer musing, "I couldn't help wondering: where do those people in Indonesia and India go away to when they lose their passion, spark and faith? I don't think they come to Manhattan."
There's definitely truth to this statement, and I know that it seems like a pretty great break that Gilbert had a book deal all lined up before she even left on her trip. The thing is, there is something to be said for travel as a means to (re)discover yourself, to renew and recharge your passions, or maybe just to figure out what exactly your passions are. I'm leaving for Russia in a week, and I'm absolutely terrified...and thrilled at the same time. Russia has been a huge interest of mine since I was about 12, when I first read a book about Anastasia Romanov. In my slightly melodramatic, all-or-nothing 12-year-old attitude, I bought myself a "Teach Yourself Russian in Three Months" kit (hah! It's been 10 years and I speak about as much Russian as Pavel Datysuk speaks English) and eagerly started trying to learn as much as possible about Russian history, literature and culture. University came along and gave me the opportunities to study Russian, take history classes, make Russian friends (and build up my tolerance for vodka!) And now here I am: four months out of uni and on my way to pull my own kind of Elizabeth Gilbert...see a part of the world I've always dreamed about, try new things, push myself out of that familiar comfort zone of university life...and hopefully learn lots of Russian!!
So one more week left in Canada...I'd love to make it one last time to Canada's Wonderland, maybe hit up a beach, visit my friends and relatives, go to Tim Hortons one last time (such a Canadian cliche!) but I'm also working right up until the day before I leave so who knows? At least I *think* I've got mostly everything taken care of for the trip. Visa, passport, photocopies of both, clothes, fan (in case the heat wave strikes again), tacky Canadian souvenirs to impress people with and remind me of home, and a few jars of peanut butter, which I've heard is hard to come by in Moscow...I do need to do something about my health insurance, since OHIP runs out after you've been out of the country for ten months. And pay off my speeding ticket before I flee to Russia...yeah, that might not go over so well if I become a fugitive...
Well, better stop procrastinating and start doing the last few things that need to be done before next Monday! Da svidanya :)