I love to travel! When I was a kid my family drove somewhere different almost every year for a week or so during summer vacation. I was 10 when I flew by myself for the first time: from Ft. Wayne, IN (I think) to Miami, through O’Hare. Living daringly even then!
Before graduating from high school we vacationed everywhere from the Ozark Mountains, to Boston, to Lake Michigan, to Miami, to Atlanta, to Washington, D.C., to St. Louis, to Niagara Falls, Andros Island Bahamas (an awesome school trip after freshman year)… The summer before my senior year we had enough money to fly to Cancun, Mexico! Aye carumba! The only really bad thing was having to deal with my dad’s snoring throughout those trips. (One time I tried to sleep in the hotel bathtub. Still couldn’t sleep. )
Adulthood can change the game though. Travel was put on the back burner, while studying, working, paying the bills, surviving, etc… were put on front burners. Even with those constraints I somehow still ended up living in Japan for four years (1999-2003) and participating in a month-long study abroad in France (2005). I guess the universe was trying to give me reminders of what I needed in life…
After my separation I started taking a really good look at what I want and need in my life. Travel always comes out near the top of the list. And as part of my efforts to live daringly, I’m easing into traveling again. I’ve started fighting the mental hurdles that say, “That’s too expensive,” “That’s too dangerous to do by yourself,” or “You’ll just be lonely and bored by yourself.” (In regards to the “too expensive” part, I’ve realized that I can save for such things, or take shorter trips.)
School/work trips have been great for letting me ease back into traveling. Scientific conferences and and other work-related travel have offered less expensive and safer opportunities to get away. Wilmington NC, Indianapolis IN, Portland OR, the Keys, and San Francisco have all been destinations of work/school-related trips. It’s funny how these travel opportunities started becoming available soon after my separation with my ex-. I traveled to more places in the year after my separation than I did in the 10 years during my marriage! I guess Paulo Coelho may be right, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
And this Sunday I depart for the Netherlands! I won a smallish scholarship through the Global Invasions Network for my work on the invasive species, Spartina alterniflora, that will get me there and back. I’ll couchsurf with other graduate students while in Wagenigen, which will be a great opportunity to make friends while there. I’ll spend a few days in Amsterdam at the end of my trip, which will just be a fantastic experience. I’ve begun scouting the things I’d like to do when I’m not working. I’m also excited about logging a run or two while in a new country (perhaps I’ll switch RunKeeper to km in honor of my trip!). I’m excited to experience a new culture, a new place, new people and see how I fit into these new experiences.
I am nervous about an international trip (mostly) on my own. At the same time I’m looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that come with this trip. I know that I will benefit and grow so much from it. It’s certainly a great opportunity just from a work/school point-of-view!
So, yay for living daringly! It can take you places you never thought you’d go.
Where has living daringly taken you?