Who will I be in Iceland less than two weeks from now? It is a question less pompous than it appears to be (I hope). I know I don't want to be the Ugly American: boorish, brash, impatient, arrogant, incurious. Though how avoidable will that be? Surely I will cart along with me all the cultural trappings that have conditioned my personality thus far. Nothing wrong with that. I can't help it anyway. It would be impossible to decondition myself in less than two weeks, stripping myself of prior personal shaping and sculpting, making myself as bare and barren as an Icelandic wintry landscape. And what would I be? Who would I have become? I can picture myself in a Reykjavik coffee shop, blabbling mercilessly about my books and my spiritual journey, affecting an urbane and witty pose, handing out my cleverly designed Moo cards, flirting with locals; in short, a hungry and not very accidental tourist. But what if the denizens of the place prefer solitude, silence, and taciturn unengagement? What if nothing is as I anticipate in scale or flavor or atmosphere? Naturally, nothing will be exactly as I envision beforehand. It is never exactly as envisioned.
And that's why we go.