My wanderlust is kicking in, big time.
With today being St. Patrick’s Day, I feel it stronger than ever.
I have a whole list of travel goals on this blog. I’ve made very little progress on it, especially on those that are outside the country.
I’d never left the country until a few years ago, and that’s still the only foreign place I’ve traveled.
I’ve never been to Europe.
I really want to go.
Specifically, I really want to go to England and Ireland. I mentioned it on this post I wrote at the beginning of the year.
Last night I started crying when it dawned on me how hard it might be to make that happen. It sounds so stupid- the very definition of a first-world problem- but maybe it’s just a symbol of all the other things in my life I’m trying so hard to change but am having trouble with. I’m trying to find love, I’m trying to lose weight, I’m trying to get published…but so much is out of my control.
People, both in real life and in the blogosphere, always say things like, “Just get up and go! Do it while you’re young! You’ll regret not taking these kinds of chances when you’re older!”
If only it were that simple.
If only I knew that it would be the right financial decision and that I wouldn’t need to give anything else up to go.
If only I could work out the logistics of it.
If only I knew that my friends could go with me. (And I know someone is going to suggest just going by myself or on a group tour, but I don’t want to do that. I like traveling by myself if I’m going someplace like New York, but to do Europe I’d only enjoy it with people I’m already close to.)
I’ve always been the kind of person who will regret the things she did rather than the things she didn’t do. Until recently, most of my regrets were things I’d done, and I felt grateful for the risks I hadn’t taken. In college, one of my friend was asked when the last time he’d taken a risk was, and he replied,”Well, I’ve never seen the back of a police car, so I think not taking risks is working for me.” I tended to agree with him.
It’s only recently that I’ve started to regret things I haven’t done- and not seizing opportunities to travel is a major one.
For a really long time, I had no desire to see the world at all. I remember when I told a friend that, she said, “That’s sad,” as if there was something wrong with me. But I just didn’t feel like it was an experience I needed. I was happy where I was.
But I can pinpoint the exact moment when it started to change. My friend was telling me about how a friend of hers had just come back from a semester abroad and was having trouble re-adjusting to the US, partly because it frustrated her that no one else seemed to think about how much else was out there in the world.
When I heard that story, I just thought, “Well…that’s me.” And just like that, I changed my mind.
It always kind of made me roll my eyes when I heard people talk about how much traveling changed them. You saw the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China and suddenly you’re a new person? People on online dating sites do it all the time- I talked about it here– and I still really feel like traveling is not, and should not be, some kind of badge of honor. I don’t understand how a vacation could change someone that much.
But maybe I could understand it.
So much of my life, so much of what makes me different from other people, is what I haven’t done rather than what I have. I feel like my lack of experiences- in love, in travel- are what make me stand out rather than what I have experienced.
In fact, maybe I’m talking about love as much as I’m talking about travel here.
Even so, I am craving someplace new to go, outside anything I’ve ever experienced so far.
I hope I can make it happen as soon as possible.