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Travel and dream

Karla Moreno | Friday, November 8, 2013

Flying over the Grand Canyon. Sky Harbor’s ridiculous security. Speeding down the I-10 hoping to beat rush hour. Running the familiar slopes of Sunnyslope Park. The best sunsets real estate can buy. Watching the sunrise from the summit of North Mountain. A year-round excuse for shorts.
Carne asada fries at Filibertos. Pomegranate [virgin] mojitos at Barrio Cafe. Hiking/laughing/crying/carrying your dog up Camelback Mountain. Decorating your palm trees and cacti for Christmas. Riding the lightrail to ASU. House music. Folk music. Street rap artists. Seeing a “Gore 2000” bumper sticker next to an NRA one. Complaining about freezing 60 degrees in December and fleeing to Flagstaff at 112 in June. The worst state politics you can imagine. The warmest people you can ever encounter. The Juicy Couture velour sweatsuit clad teens at Fashion Square. Knowing you were once said teen. Sitting in energy vortexes in Sedona. Hiking for three hours to find the ideal spot to hang your hammock. Kale-hemp heart-spirulina post Southwest Institute of Healing Arts yoga smoothies at Aside of Heart.
The most beautiful highway I’ve ever driven is Highway 87. The most stimulating sights I’ve encountered are silent, untouched and raw. Organic. I was blessed enough to be raised in a community of language, passion, and awe. So much adventure, in fact, that it drove me 1,800 miles east to the strange land of South Bend, Indiana. South Bend, where I learned who Toby Keith is. Where I learned the language of college football, tailgates and seasons. Where I learned that “The Highest Point” is a place where on a good day you can see the bell tower of Le Mans Hall. Where there are no fences between yards.
While South Bend doesn’t house world-renowned scenery, it has fostered in me a love and appreciation for said gifts. A life of travel since an international baptism, no place has made me question myself, my values and my future as much. No place helped me harness that desire to go East, West, anywhere.
However, if anything justifies my choice to leave the Arizona sun for an Indiana permacloud for four years, it is the Saint Mary’s College Rome program (Among other things here, of course. Maybe.) For while Phoenix set up the questions, South Bend asked them and Rome overwhelmed me with answers. Rome was where you embodied gravitas just by the sense of donning all black and capitalizing on your olive complexion to fooling others you are from Bari. Rome was where I learned what eternal truly meant. Rome was where I lived for three months and felt the need to go back for 10 days, six months later. And Rome was what solidified that I will can never settle down. Life is movement.
I hope each one of you can and will travel beyond your dreams. I hope that yearning takes you to places that make you question your society, your values and your esteem. I hope it takes you beyond anything you can imagine, and I hope you always find home.