It feels like my entire life has been leading up to this moment. As a younger, more naïve traveler I imagined I could run away from this life of mine and disappear into the world. The only problem was everywhere I looked-there I was. Somehow, this time, it feels different. I hug my ratty old childhood blanket and lay it on the bed. I pack my vitamins, my hats, my skirts that have swayed from my hips in a dozen countries before. They know where I’ve been, the things I have seen. These travel mementos understand me more than most people I know. So they come. This is it, I tell myself. This is when it stops being goodbye, see you soon. This is when my life in the world starts.
Now I know it will not all be glory and elephants. I have traveled enough to know that crying myself to sleep amongst the cockroaches on a rickety train is as inevitable as skinny dipping in Greece. This time, however, I am ready to swallow it all. There is no return date on my ticket, no deadline, no expectations. I am not thinking about how skinny I will be next time they see me or how grown all the children will be. Our reunion is tenuous.
It is not to say I hate life here. In fact, it is quite comfortable to live in America. Everyone glides through their lives like quiet mothers on an early morning. It would be so easy to stay. To work 9-5, to buy a house, to get married, pregnant, to eat the American dream like a big fat prescription pill. Yet, it seems that anything that comes easily in life was never really worth having. The adventure, the heartbreak, the utter lust for life, these things take guts. It means stepping into a fast flowing river and simply letting go.
So here I go.