This is a guest post by Alexander Tolchinsky, a biker, teacher, and writer with a wandering soul, and the first in a series of articles from the road.
Though we now have a homeland, 2000 years of homelessness is not easily purged from a nation’s psyche.
The accepted goal for our peoples is stability, security and community; history has shown that these are vital to our survival. But the most compelling stories and contributions have come from those Jews who have taken themselves out of the context of their respective “shtetl” and have gone forth to learn from, and apply our unique insight on, the world.
And so I find myself drawn from the comforts of the known, to the world at large. I may be no Shalom Aleichem, but something inside me screams to mine my soul and those of Jews still out there – making their own daily journeys to find a place both in themselves and their adopted lands.
My journey will begin by traversing 6,700 miles across Canada and the U.S. on my Honda Magna VF-750.
I will then make my way to Israel, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, England, India, Thailand, China, Japan, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil…
The purpose of staying on the road, with no one place to call home, is so that I may immerse myself in the act of “wander” and face myself unobstructed by the conventions of modern daily living. It will also provide me the opportunity to meet face to face with the people who form the roots of my generation, as well as the blooms – my generation – who have found their way out of the depths of oppression and anti-semitism of Soviet Russia.
The book I’m writing is not about travel, or, specifically, not about my own travel at this time. The book will be a fiction, embedded in the history and development of my generation.
We are refugees from whom identity was severed along with our citizenship – tossed into limbo; and when we landed on the shores of freedom we were no closer to understanding our potential or what kind of blossoming we would experience. Our roots are very similar: going back dozens of generations there was only a handful of places where our forefathers lived, only a handful of professions they could hold… but as they are the stalks of flowers, wholly indistinguishable, we are the blossoms – with as many expressions as the number of us who sought the golden door.
I know there are many of you have travelled widely and/or have written and published; and I’m looking forward to all of your comments, suggestions, feedback and stories. I hope your experiences will enhance both my travels and my writing! I also hope that this blog serve as a medium for intercourse about some of the realities of travel, writing, living in diaspora as well as issues that impact us on a day–to-day basis.
May the sun shine upon your face, and the wind be at thy back,
Alexander Markovich Avrom-Yesef Tolchinsky (The Wandering Jew)