Journey to Ithaka

Those of you who know me know of my love for anything and everything Greek and Roman. After all, I did spend the better part of a decade studying their ancient history.

Those of you who know me well also know of my undying love for C.P. Cavafy. After all, I did get his name tattooed on me. Intense, I know.

As a result, my favorite poem of all time is “Ithaka”. I’ve always used that poem as a guide to life, and lately it’s been on my mind more than ever. I’ll post it below for those of you interested, but it basically speaks of Odysseus’s journey to Ithaka. All of our journeys to Ithaka really. Right now I feel like I’m in a battle, with myself. My boyfriend and I are currently long distance until I make the final move to Utrecht in February. And let me tell you, it’s killing me. I don’t think I can go a single day without shedding at least a couple of tears. And some days it’s that gnarly Kim-Kardashian-cry-face, mocos-everywhere crying. Yeah. Not cute.

Some days it feels like there’s no end in sight, like I’m wandering aimlessly through the Mediterranean. But this struggle, this waiting, these obstacles… these are my Cyclopes, my Lastrygonians. And in the end I’ll reach my Penelope. (Yes baby I just called you a woman. Love you!)

I know this all sounds overly poetic, slightly pretentious, and super sappy, but it’s how my mind works. Don’t judge me! I can’t just say, “Wait three months, then your man is here. Wait three more months, then it’s all over and you’re finally together.” Nope. I’m Odysseus, fighting my way through monsters and sirens and storms to reach my beloved Penelope.

Don’t judge me.

 

*The poem for those of you interested:

 

Ithaka

When you set out on your journey to Ithaka,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

motion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.
Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time
;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.
Always keep Ithaka in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaka will offer you riches.
Ithaka has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience
you must already have understood what Ithakas mean.
Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)