Running Past What I Thought Was the End of My Self

by Lee Jung

When the only light is fire / I run past what I thought was the end / of myself.

There will never be a moment in my life (or yours) in which the following sentence isn’t both relevant and obvious: Everything is about to happen.

I’m about to travel the world for a year.

On June 1, 2012, I will have given most of my belongings to close friends for safe keeping and moved out of my apartment here in Harlem. The following day I will have brunch with those close friends in the East Village. That night I will perform at the Nuyorican with some old and new poet friends. What a perfect way to say “see you later” to the city that has taught and given and groped and loved me so fiercely.

On June 3, I will head to Memphis, the city where I was born, the city where my mother died and is now buried. A few days later, I will go to New Orleans to do research on a writing project. Then on to San Francisco for a week or so of memory making. In mid-June, I’ll make my way to Columbus, Ohio to perform at Columbus State Community College’s Pride event. Then I will head to Cave Canem’s poetry retreat in Pennsylvania. It will be my last destination in the United States for a year.

I will then fly to Berlin and begin my year abroad. My goal is to visit four continents while I continue to write poems and work on my demonic little memoir. Also, I will be writing for Ebony.com about my experiences while traveling. And — and! — I will maintain a wonderful international poetry memoir travel writing hybrid Tumblr.

Some of the places I hope to visit include Munich, Paris, Nice, Cannes, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bali, Buenos Aires, Montevideo.

I’m excited. I’m freaking out. I’m thrilled. I’m overwhelmed.

But hey — now you know.

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9 responses to “Running Past What I Thought Was the End of My Self

  1. Lovely and amazing! Wishing you bon voyage, my friend, and looking forward to your tales from the road.

  2. I love Lisbon… never tell my family, but it might just trump Italy for me… you absolutely *must* go to Pasteis de Belem while you’re there… it’s in Belem, just outside of the main city area. Order a few pasteis de nata and then bring them to a bench in the park nearby, add a little canela (cinnamon) on top and eat.. they make so many of them in a day that they’re still warm when you get them. OMG, they are the best custard cups I’ve ever eaten anywhere. You know that summer photo I have as my twitter pic? That’s what I’m eating in there. PS… if you can make a side trip to Amalfi in Sept, email me, I’m going there for my 5-year anniversary and would love to hang out 🙂

  3. Excited for you! When will you be in SF?

  4. Looking forward to hearing of your experiences during this great adventure Saeed. May you travel safely.

  5. Just a note: Munich is beautiful, but Hamburg is cooler. Grittier. Barcelona’s better than everything except Paris, Berlin, & Capetown. And if you’re looking for a rich hubby, put your game face on in Cannes…. Bon voyage.

  6. I’m so thrilled for you! What an amazing journey you are about to begin. I can’t wait to follow your journey. If you want to add Seoul to that list, I would love to see you again and show you around. Safe travels, dear brave friend! 🙂

  7. Wow, now that is cool. What a wonderful journey you have ahead of you! I just recently finished reading a wonderful travel memoir, “Drifting on a Headwind” by Jim Harlan. I am now itching to travel around the world, just like the author in this book has done. I have made it my goal to visit every continent before I die. Good luck to you as you set out on your journey. I can’t wait to read more about your travels.
    http://uncommonadventurespress.com/

  8. Shari knight

    What an amazing adventure you’re about to embark upon. Should you find yourself drifting to south Carolina in & around that Memphis visit-come to beautiful charleston!
    I hope you have a marvelous time, making lasting memories and future lifelong friends!

  9. You can’t get from Germany to France without stopping in Switzerland, you know. Nothing in the world beats the Bernese Oberland in the summertime, I tell you. Stops my heart even after ten years.

    But even if you blow on by, enjoy your travels! Keep copious journals!! (As if somebody has to tell you that)

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