And so it ends—flying into Kennedy on a 747 out of Paris. I guess the ending is a little different than the beginning. Endings are funny that way. They rarely occur the way you would have imagined them at the start.
I wrote that I was surprisingly optimistic in one of my first entries. Surprisingly, of course, because I’m an ingrained pessimist. I had hoped for so much on this journey, and I had not met those expectations, but I did receive things I had not expected; emotions that I had not felt in a while, ranging from intense anger, frustration, and loneliness, to extreme pleasure and amazement, a deeper understanding of myself and others, and an intense love of my family, which did not reveal itself until I had been away from them for a long time—graduation I believe was the last time I saw them, some 3 or 4 months ago.
I started this journey in the hope of discovering new countries and meeting new people—I dared to hope I would be more outgoing. I guess I accomplished those goals in a limited way. Although, perhaps meeting new people is reserved for non-moody, less honest and shy people.
Looking back I have my regrets. I might have had a better time traveling with a tour or at least by myself; but whatever might have been, I have to remember, sort through, and appreciate what I had—it has been a memorable adventure and experience.
My first poem, “Flight,” sums it up best: “miles over home and heading toward the light…to mysteries and joy over horizons of night and unspoiled dawn.” True then and true now.
David S. Figatner
September 8, 1999