Whenever I open my gmail accounts, plural, I’m hoping for an email from afar. Peru, Chad, Tanzania, Mexico, France. The list keeps building–and so too does my impatience. A least post something on your blog! More, more, more, please.
Oh, the adventures they are having! Friends and family scattered throughout the world, experiencing new cultures, new people, new places.
Whether or not they realize it, their travel has such impact on those of us left behind.
Well, first, it makes me a bit stir crazy. Let’s be real.
I need to travel again. Someday.
But, more so, I am struck by the glimpses they give us via selfies and beach snapshots and one-paragraph shorthand emails. Just from these, the world seems vast and full. Suddenly my little problems are the little problems they should be. Suddenly I notice the little things I’d otherwise take for granted.
Alicia’s instructions to “Eat some cereal for me (cuz im wanting it sooooo much)! haha” resulted in some of the most appreciated Honey Nut Cheerios to date.
But I think there might be a flip side. And I haven’t quite figured out how to articulate this. But. I’m going to try.
I’ve found that in the wake of these brave travelers–as they truly are brave–it is easy to discredit my own day-to-day. Is this true for you, too? Do you know what I’m talking about?
I find this especially now that I’m home, having gone from top-speed to a near-crawl, from unfamiliar and freakin-huge and exciting, to a place as embedded into me as breathing.
To a place where I’m oddly a stranger, yet somehow it’s like I never left.
To a place where, I admit, I have a bit more time on my hands to read and reread blog posts from Africa.
And to me, and arguably most, my life here doesn’t have that same spark of excitement that my sister’s letters from Tanzania carry, or my friend’s report on her first days of a year in Peru, or my cousin’s day-to-day narrative from Chad.
And naturally so. Rightfully so.
Yet, I find I resent this slightly. This doesn’t sit well with me.
I truly want to believe that there is so much adventure, wherever you are.
And it doesn’t take traveling around the world, does it? Even if you are in small town South Dakota. Even on freezing cold winter days where you hide inside, honest-to-goodness the entire day. This shouldn’t be a matter of reminding myself; it’s a matter of simply looking.
I’ve been home over a week now. (Is that all?) And, at least so far, I don’t have any stories of speaking new languages or riding in packed vans or biking through Belize. I haven’t had any fresh fruit lately and my tan is not, not good.
But I need to stop pitying myself, or undermining my own experiences, regardless.
Because I can tell you the great feeling of anticipation it is walking into a room of Freemanites rehearsing for Schmeckfest for the first time since I was in The Sound of Music as a junior in high school. How oddly overwhelming it is to be surrounded again by people that I look up to and that have supported me unconditionally.
I can tell you how much it means to me to spend time on the family room couch, watching a movie with my parents. Playing Settlers. Talking. Having dinner with Grandpa and Grandma and discussing human rights and all-things-Mennonite. Spending a Friday night with my little cousins and playing basketball and ‘tornado’ and ‘hide the farm toys’ until that list of cuteness no longer sounds so cute.
Or listening to musicals with Josh. Time to just ‘be’, under the same roof, as he anticipates his wedding this summer. Joking with him about the guest list. About any and all things wedding-related.
(My last attempt was, “do you even know what are you wearing?” This resulted in uncontrollable laughter, some barely audible comment about “I don’t even know what I’m wearing tomorrow” and “blue sox?!” and me giving up.)
I can tell you the emotional journey it was to go through boxes and boxes of old stuff–simple, small things–letters, pictures, clothes. I can tell you about the pain and peace in trying to accept the reality of times–and people–come and gone.
In trying to gauge how you’ve gotten from point A to point B. In trying to make sense of your own experiences.
No, this isn’t Africa.
But it is life. And I’d like to think that as long as you keep looking for the adventure around you, it will exist. That we all have equally exciting stories to share, no matter what we’re doing or–in this case–where in the world we are.
That being said, keep on keeping on, my traveling friends.
Your adventure brings new perspective to us all.