Tuesday, July 10, 2012

As you set out for Ithaca...or Ireland

That's the opening line of a poem I took with me to Greece. I've copied it in full below. It's always been a favorite.  I've given a few copies of it to graduates and travelers....it makes me happy.  Mostly because its totally true...travel is about the adventure, not the destination.  The wisest souls know this.

And why talk of travel?  This weekend my oldest son left for Ireland.  He's going for 6 months.  I'm so crazy excited and nervous and happy and panicy. (I'm only nervous that maybe I forgot to do something, purchase something, pack something, tell him something, or just something --that will adversly effect his time in Ireland.)  Oh well, nothing I can do about my perceived (or possible) failures now. The cabin door has been sealed.  In fact, as I type this and drink my morning coffee, it is 2:15 in Dublin -- lunchtime.  Get the fish and chips, get the fish and chips PJ!

I'm not sad that he's gone, I'm actually happy, and a little bit envious.  If I wasn't 43, with two other kids, a job and a mortgage to pay I'd be right on that plane too!  And I've been checking out the weather in Dublin and compared to the devilish volcano heat we've been having in MA (and are going to have more of) Dublin looks to be a paradise.  Rainy and 55.  So much for all the shorts we bought at Marshalls.  Sorry PJ.

Here's the first photo I got from across the pond.  It's somewhere not too far from Dublin, but of course, the picture came with no real caption.  An email that said, Here's somewhere I went!  It wasn't too hard to nail down the county b/c I know he is still in Dublin. 

Anyhow, I will discuss his captions (or lack thereof) soon.  PJ if you are reading this, are you satisfied that I did not post our picture, even though I really REALLY wanted to!

Tomorrow I'm going to focus on food. I haven't done a food post in a while.  I know you're all hungry.
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon- you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


  1. always loved that poem. thanks for the reminder!

  2. glad you know this one.

    it really is one of my faves...you will understand by then what these Ithakas mean...lovely.