Ahoy all my travell-loving friends! Yes, that includes just about all of you who read this I think. I came across this poem in Sailing Aloone Around teh Room by Billy Collins - America's poet lauriet and one of the best poets I've ever heard, and it reminded me of you. If not being exactly how I feel at this particular moment I certainly recognize the sentiment in the depths of my soul... and I think he's being a little tounge-in-cheeck anyway. Hope you enjoy it.
How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and asencding her torrid hill towns.
How much butter to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully gasping the meaning of every road sign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.
There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.
How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basiclica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyed camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?
Instead of slouching in a cafe ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.
And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car
as if it were the great car of English itself
and sound my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.