I made my flight reservations a few days ago. There was the usual initial huge grumpy annoyance that parallels every impossibly long search to ferret out the best schedule to transport this single body from one hemisphere to another. But once decided, the route began to fill my head with all sorts of wonderful romantic notions (as all foreign travel should do).
I had looked at many possibilities. Dallas-Fort Worth outbound as well as Chicago, Atlanta, and JFK. And different European points of entry – London, Paris, Athens and Rome. Which made the spin of the wheel all that more magical for where it finally landed. Mexico City to Rome.
In my mind, the route conjures up other distant compass points. Casablanca. The road to Marrakesh. The train to Istanbul. Singapore to Hong Kong. New Delhi. You get the picture. All routes and locales populated with dangerous characters; exotic women with mysterious pasts, leaving behind broken trails of unsolved crimes.
Mexico City to Rome is another one of those premier routes for desperadoes, criminal vagrants, drug smugglers, jewel thieves and tomb robbers.
From Rome, I am flying to Athens. And from there I don’t know. I only know that I need to be back in Rome in a month for the return flight to Mexico City. All the in-betweens are still only thoughts in progress.
PS – And one must remember there’s also an associated literary exoticity with Southeastern Europe. Lawrence Durrell’s Bitter Lemons. Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi. Don DeLillo’s The Names. And Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.
Every journey must involve the imagination. If not, travel is just simply you in another place.