The allure of the unknown
Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to see the world. Not just a slice of it, either, but as much as humanly possible.
I'm sure the fact that I've always been a big reader contributed to my ever-increasing wanderlust. I wanted to explore all the places I read about in books, from big cities to far-flung countries. My family also moved around a lot while I was growing up, and each time we planted ourselves slightly further and further to the east, our road trips to visit family in Missouri and North Carolina got longer and took us on slightly different routes.
By the time I went to college, I'd seen a solid quarter of the country, a great start, and shortly after graduating I embarked on my first cross-country road trip. I have a goal of visiting all 50 states by the time I'm 40, and with just nine to go, I think it's doable. I've lived in seven, which feels like a lot and not very many all at the same time. I feel similarly about my out-of-country travel - it's a lot by many people's standards. I've been lucky to visit England, Ireland, France (2x), the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas. But there's still so much world to see, AND SO FEW VACATION DAYS.
Oh, yeah, and money. There's never enough of that, either. Although by opting out of designer this and that and a closet full of shoes, I've been able to afford more travel than I once thought possible on my small salary.
There are a lot of people who are perfectly happy to make the same family vacation to their beach resort of choice year after year, probably because the things that are familiar often come with less stress, or perceived stress, than tackling something new. I get that. I definitely have a few spots like that, places that are like comfort food to my soul, where I know precisely what to expect out of my vacation and can count on coming home relaxed and rejuvenated. I understand the value of a week spent on a beach with a stack of good books and no other cares in the world.
But I've never quite understood people who don't have the same insatiable lust that I have to see the world and to meet all the people in it. Because while I love the stability and restfulness of recharging in a familiar place, I also love being out of my comfort zone and completely awash in new experiences. It makes me feel so alive and so charged to be in a place I've never been, drinking in the sights and sounds and smells of a different climate and culture. There's something so magical and exciting about realizing that you can find your way around a city where everyone speaks a language that sounds like gibberish to you, stumbling upon buildings you grew up seeing photographs of in books, or taking in vistas you thought could only exist between the pages of a National Geographic.
And there's always the beautiful feeling of coming home, to what is familiar and true, and realizing how precious your everyday life is, that fondness magnified by having spent time in a completely different world.
When I think about all the things I want to experience, it's overwhelming. I haven't been to Italy or Spain or Greece. I haven't set foot in Africa or India, or South America. I want to experience the hottest desert, the highest mountains, the most far-flung beaches. I want to travel in Thailand and New Zealand, the Middle East and Tunisia. I want to eat every food and taste every drink and meet everyone I possibly can.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, or right now even, where would it be?