I remember driving to college for the first time like it was yesterday. It was a hot summer day. I was speeding along in my shinny, teal blue Mustang. The CD player was blasting Poison’s Greatest Hits and I was singing along to “Fallen Angel.” I felt euphoric levels of impending freedom. The whole 6-hour drive was like a warp zone into a new dimension (minus the 80s music). I had no idea what was going to happen; I just knew it was going to be awesome.
Fast forward to now. Tomorrow I’m getting on a flight to Bangkok. I’ve been waiting and planning for months. Talking about it with friends who have visited. Taking Thai lessons. Trying my best to prepare for it. And suddenly it comes down to the final hours and I think, “Shit, I’m really doing this!” Hahaha. Cool. Nervous excitement. Kind of like my drive to college. I just wish I had a sound track!
For the past week, I’ve been delivering my adult response when people ask me why I’m going. (When you’re from small-town Missouri, your folks and all the relatives worry about trips beyond the tri-county area and, seemingly, want to interrogate you a bit to ensure that you’re not off-kilter.) So my speech is something like this, “Well, I love to travel and I’m going to very safe, touristic areas. I will still be working some, remotely, and it’s just for a few months. Plus, I don’t have any obligations to keep me from going at this time.”
In truth it’s a little more like, “Life is so short and this world is big. I’ve hardly seen a fraction of it. I want to wake up tomorrow and explore something I don’t understand. Meet people I don’t know but could love. I want to have sweet watermelon at a busy market under a squelching sun. I want to overcome my fear of the ocean by learning to scuba dive, and I want to embrace the vitality that is still in me. “
Oh hell, that’s unnecessarily poetic — I just wanna have fun!
As adults, we succumb to notions of responsibility. We take on grown up attitudes to fill roles, to be recognized as leaders, and (I suppose) to make kids feel safe! When I was young I thought that something magic happened when you got older and you just instantly became an adult. Right…
Now I know the truth. We are all still children inside. Some of us are just a little better at hiding it than others :).
One thought on “The Beginning”
Have a great time!