I am never so much myself as when I stand up in the waiting area, passport in hand, and practically skip to the line to board a plane.
Ok, that’s a lie. I don’t skip. Outwardly, anyway. That would be weird.
From the moment I get on that plane, no matter if it’s a few hour jump to Latin America, or an all day affair halfway across the world, it’s like I finally feel like a whole person. Kristin Newman, in her fantastic and hilarious What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, called her travel-self Kristin-adjacent; someone who is a little bit braver, a little less inhibited, not so worried about other’s opinions about her decisions. I could totally get behind that. Except.
Except for me, that braver, more confident, “eh, well let’s just see what will happen” person feels like me. Like the person I am at home is a diluted version. Or, to mix my metaphors, traveling is coming up for air.
After studying abroad in Costa Rica in grad school (our awesome professor sung one of our lectures, so that tells you how, uh, academically rigorous this trip was), I went five years without leaving the country. FIVE YEARS. I don’t think I realized what a gigantic hole that left in my life until I landed in Ho Chi Minh City just before Christmas 2014. I came home from Southeast Asia last year feeling like I had regained a lot of who I am. Because my personality is waiting to be collected like a scavenger hunt throughout the world. just kidding.
I’m sitting here in Tulum, Mexico today writing this. This trip probably wasn’t the most “responsible” thing to do; I’m still looking for a job, Boyfriend just started a business, it was totally impulsive and last minute. I did it anyway, to reclaim a little bit of me for the return. To soak up some of that braveness and confidence it takes to walk out of the airport and get yourself on a transfer that you can’t book in advance to your destination; to explore a new place fully; to know that as long as you don’t do something too stupid, it will all work out ok (and sometimes even the really stupid stuff works out ok).
(That motorbike ride was probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. But hot damn if it wasn’t fun, and the destination – waterfalls and a Buddhist temple outside of Siem Reap – was soooo worth it.)
I think I want to go to Honduras next. Maybe in June. Maybe whenever my Hipmunk travel alert tells me the airfare is cheap. Seriously, you should be using Hipmunk for all your airfare needs. It’s awesome. So where are you going to go? You know, right after you caucus/primary for Hillary, because it’s offish election season.