Friday, October 16, 2009

Global Souls Anonymous

Ever wonder why friends think you’re crazy when they find out you just spend your last thousand bucks on a plane ticket to some place they’ve never heard of? Have you ever wondered why your parents urge you to buy furniture instead of travel luggage? It could be that they’re simply not “global souls.”

In his eponymous book, Pico Iyer presents himself as a quintessential global soul. Born in Great Britain of India parents, he attended boarding school in California but now lives in Japan. Although he serves as a prototype, the rest of the book details many other global souls, people who, when asked where they’re from, have so many answers to choose from that they can’t think what to say. But even those of us from a particular place may feel like global souls. I’m from in Illinois but live in Arizona where I play in a mariachi band. I enjoy speaking Spanish but take jobs in Italy to work on my Italian. I’m at home in airports—those in between places that connect vastly different worlds.

I didn’t need Pico Iyer to tell me I’m a global soul, but his book gave me the gift of realizing why so many people I come into contact with aren’t necessarily on board with me—why colleagues roll their eyes when I say I’m off to some country the day after grades are due, why my boss, when offered the opportunity to teach in China, confessed no desire to go and suggested I go in her place, why my brother treasures his life of exile in Switzerland, and why my ears prick up any time I hear an unusual accent. Global souls aren’t made—they’re born. Circumstances only take things to extremes.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it wonderful to find a book, so many years later that validates what we have always known.


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