Monday, October 28, 2013

All Around the World: The Beginning

I can clearly, and somewhat distantly, remember a time when I hated the very idea of traveling. To have to leave my house, my town, or my state was a hassle I didn't want to endure. Then one day, out of nowhere, the urge to travel hit me like a cannonball, knocking all other thoughts to the side. I ate, slept, and breathed the desire to leave. Every fiber of my being wanted to walk out the door and never look back, not until I had quenched my thirst for the unknown. I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, as long as I was gone. Eventually, I was able to do just that, but even today that desire - while more of a soft calling rather than a heated pull - is still with me. Even today, I continue to listen for the call of my next adventure.

But, before I could leave, I couldn't. Which meant that before I could take a single step anywhere, I only had my daydreams to keep me company. I know that there are people all over the world who feel the same way I do, who want nothing more than to see beyond the same old roads of their everyday lives. Knowing what it felt like to have to wait, I've decided that maybe, possibly, I can help in the meantime for those that cannot travel just yet. Maybe I can give you a taste of what is yet to come, story by story.

It won't be the same as going yourself, but maybe it will help fan your travel flame a little longer until you can go on your own. But first, of course, before anyone ends up going anywhere, there's the desire to do so, and I remember that desire very clearly. I stumbled upon some of my old writing from before I went on my long awaited trip and how I felt after I had returned. These are just pieces of the beginning, of how it all started.

And there is no way I'm going to ever let it end.

All I had thought of for the last two years was leaving Arizona. There was one place in particular that I had been dreaming of lately, a place I had never been. Somewhere cold and windy, where tea was a daily tradition and the voices of the men there could make my swirling, thought filled mind cease and shift to their words. This place, my dream place, was London.

There had been many times that, while sitting alone and irritated in my office, I had mapped out my escape plan.

Cue the Mission Impossible music...

It was only ten in the morning. I would type up an email to my boss, leave work, go get my passport from my safe deposit box, and drive home and write a short but detailed note to my family explaining my unexplainable need to leave. I’d grab the few warm clothes I owned and head off to the airport. I could be on a flight that afternoon and in the place of my dreams the next day, just in time for tea. 

Don't get me wrong. I had no delusions about the type of life I would have there. No elegant townhouse right by Kensington park, no fancy designer clothes. I probably wouldn’t even be able to afford daily afternoon tea. But none of that mattered to me. I was looking forward to the simplicity of my well thought out new life. 

No car, a small apartment where my bed would convert into my sofa during the day, a job as the produce girl in a local market during the morning and nights filled school and occasional yoga jobs. And on every Tuesday, my imagined day off, I would take a trip to my favorite cafe for afternoon tea and time for writing. This was all I wanted. 

There was once a time when I restricted my traveling desire. I was content only with places that had sun, water, and beaches, and London didn't seem like that kind of a place. London was all about history and that was my least favorite thing in all of life. I didn't care who did what, when, with who, or why. I didn't watch the history channel, no, I lived in the moment! Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, all of that changed. The moments didn't matter because each and every one of them was empty, hollow, and dark.

Everything I thought I knew about myself and what I wanted in life had shifted. 

For two years this thought of leaving ran through my mind, day and night, and every moment it felt more and more right. This was what I needed to do. 

As strange and impossible as it sounds, I was bored with my life. Nothing was new anymore. Even the new things were only new and exciting for so long. I worked, went to school, came home, cleaned the house, went to bed. Every single day. I was in no way making a difference in the world. I wasn't changing anyone's life for the better, not even mine. I was stressed out, exhausted, over worked and under rested. I hated every minute of life, because every minute was my own personal hell. 

When my dream of moving became far too much too handle, I decided something had to change. In my still occasionally sane mind, I realized that it might make more sense to go on a very long vacation to the place I dreamed of rather than run away entirely. This would give me an opportunity to try out my possible future home and, at the very least, catch up on some sleep.

And that is how this trip came to be. Now that it's over, I see the difference that one single journey can make. I see the world through new eyes.I long to step foot on every inch of the earth, meet people of every culture, discover the traveler inside of me.

Other things have changed, too. 

I crave the cold. I finger through the scarfs in my closet wondering which one I would wear if it wasn't 104 degrees outside(in October, mind you.) I close my eyes and pretend I’m wandering the streets of London, the wind whisking my scarf in the air. A pleasant shiver runs down my spine.

There’s something about the heat I no longer recognize. I recall the soft kiss of the sun on my shoulder, yet now it blisters my skin. 

Now it’s just suffocating me.

Now it’s just hell.

As I've returned back to my normal life, I hear the usual complaints from others around me. Work this, government that. I find myself joining in. 

This I did not miss. The aches and pains of this life. 

It takes everything in me not to hop in my car and head back to the airport, on to a new adventure...

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