I'm just starting HIROSHIMA IN THE MORNING by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, a memoir about six months in Japan than changed the author's life. She writes:
"I knew I was leaving, but if I had known how thoroughly my life would shatter over the next six months, into gains just as astonishing as the losses; if I knew I was saying goodbye to the person I was that night, that decade, that lifetime; if I understood I was about to become someone new, too new . . . too different to fit in here . . . would I have still gotten on the airplane?"
I myself was twenty when I went to Japan for a year that turned into two as love and Buddhism intermingled in a tale no one could possibly have made up. We just have no idea where our blind choices will lead. No one who has gone abroad for an extended period, especially in the crucial years of young adulthood, comes away the same person. This is what is interesting to me about the genre I've chosen to emphasize in this blog -- journeys inner and outer. Usually an outer journey precipitates an inner one, but it might also be said that the sojourner is ready for change or s/he would have stayed home. So my answer to Rizzuto's rhetorical question is, "Yes, probably."