The morning after my return my mother asked me to breakfast so she could hear all about my trip. Sitting in a small diner with my head still in a Jet-lagged fog, I ordered a standard breakfast, an omelet, hash browns, toast, a bit of juice and coffee. I ate gladly telling stories and halfway through, I felt something in my stomach shift and my whole system shut down.

I felt bloated and confused with a splitting headache. I was suddenly exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep. My mind suddenly moved into the last ten days and realized I had eaten too much. My stomach had shrunk. I don’t want to re-assimilate into the bustling hysteria of my old life, but I was afraid it had already begun.

For one week straight I consumed roughly four espressos, three slices of pizza and two scoops of gelato every day. I was on my feet or walking from the crack of dawn until sunset and as a result I received two sizeable blisters on each of my feet, one of my knees had swollen and was stiffing up, and with each step I took I imagined it asking me, ‘what the hell it had done to receive such abuse?’ It is starting to bend again, but the joint is still tender.

During that week I lost a whole two inches on my waist. I planned this trip for almost a year and it seemed like such an eternity, but it finally came to pass. Just over a week, then return, back home to L.A., but there are portions of my spirit that already wish to go back. I threw a coin in the Trevi, I hope that helps.

I found some of myself in Rome, some things that I knew existed and some that had never occurred to me. I don’t know if the trip was ever supposed to happen. Over the last several months, my thoughts ventured towards my pending flight, and peering over maps of the city.

I told my friends, “I’m tired of you guys backing out and being unsure, so I bought a ticket. It’s eight months from now if you want to go.”  Since then I encountered inconvenient twists and setbacks at nearly every turn, all of which were minor and more frustrating than anything else. Nothing was going to bring it to an end.

The frustration was such that “Aw fuckit…” was an attitude that came to mind more than once. I am certain that in another life I would have not made it as far as I did. I felt as if the universe was throwing these things at me to assess my true intention, to see if I was serious or not. Now seven days away and sitting here in a Starbucks, I am staring into the future of my pending trip. I realize that so many of the goals I’ve been setting for myself over the last year have all been coming out of my verbal intention and into manifestation.

One by one, trickle by drip, and I am ready.

I was not certain what ready meant, though I have seen many people, including myself, speak aloud an exact intention and those words cause it to manifest. Suddenly they find that they are actually not ready to have it arrive for them.

In a week I’m leaving for what I believe will be a life changing experience for me. I have always wanted to go to Rome, as of now it has taken me twenty years to realize this trip and now I am beginning to feel that I am becoming the entity I have long meant to be.


I want to travel until it becomes boring

steeped into my nature,

second only to existence itself.

I want to live in perpetual culture shock

have experiences with foreign and domestic strangers

in unknown lands that will hold in my memory

until my ripe frail agedness arrives

and I will expound my stories to others

to conjure interest and wow them

with laughter that forms tears.

I want to live the global walk of life

and have friends in every city to Timbuktu.

I want to discover backdoor black market bargain closets

and off the beaten roadside attractions,

so that I may direct others into my found experience.

I will do all this, and more.


I was so nervous that it began to manifest physically. First I got a cough three days before, then a strange rash on my stomach. The cough went away. The rash got worse. It was an odd rash, but similar to ones I got before when I was really nervous. This one grew and spread. I don’t know what the catalyst was. I hadn’t been on an airplane in years, but I had never been nervous. I concluded that it was running off, alone, into destiny.

The day I was supposed to go it was so bad that some spots were seeping a clear fluid. I thought about a doctor, but I didn’t want him telling me that I couldn’t travel. I bought some gauze pads, a small roll of surgical tape and Benadryl. It worked, but the bandages had to be changed every few hours. I packed up and was off.  

After everything I’d been through, and still arriving at LAX two hours early, I encountered another block. Nervous, excited, and proud, I arrived at the Air France counter. The man behind the counter took my ticket, typed into the computer and said, “No.” Then sat back in his chair and ignored me.

“What’s wrong?” I said, a little worried.

The man waved his hand, “I don’t see.”

Worried. “No I bought this eight months ago.” I checked my phone and confirmed all the information. “Yes this is correct.”

Sigh, he checks the computer again. “I don’t see it.” He sits back again and again simply ignores me.

I can feel the rash on my stomach spread and fluid ooze out as I take my bag and walk away to call. The receptionist is kind and yes she finds the ticket, the name the number, the reservation all paid for and ready to go. I go back to the counter.

Humble, nervous, holding it together, “Sir I just got off the phone and they find it in the computer.”

Sigh, he checks the computer again. “The name is wrong.”

“What name is it?”

“You put your name wrong. First name is last and last name is first.”

“Oh is that all.”

“That’s not okay. With homeland security and everything, that’s not good.” He issues me the ticket and sends me on my way.

I don’t think about it anymore, thinking this is just a small thing and it has been fixed.

I was wrong.


Published by James Gabriel