Oh Gentle Reader,
I read the travel section of last week’s newspaper today. It should be telling that I am reading Sunday’s paper the following Saturday–it takes me that long. Or that I keep only the Travel and Arts sections.
Yesterday I made a Proclamation to my husband. He knows when this happens that he must adhere because when I Proclaim then that is – it.
“We are going to Denmark and Belize.”
I should add a Dammit to that statement as well.
You see, gentle reader, my soul gets a little lost moving. My soul gets sidetracked with kids. My soul gets hijacked with the plastic to do’s. You know the to do list that isn’t saving or seeing the world but organizes the produce drawer in the refrigerator. My soul takes a back seat to the rest of the household and when time is freed soul is too tired.
I walked the dog last week (foreshadowing for The Proclamation) after a margarita infused meal and shouted into a cell phone (so sorry Althea) that I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO RAISE ETHNOCENTRIC KIDS. And the World is Big and we are Small and Time is Short.
When I was in my 20’s I backpacked at different times through Europe, Australia and Fiji. It was hard, hot, confusing, cold, crazy, uncomfortable, exhilarating, and in my Top 5 of Best Life Events Ever. I quit my jobs, put my life into storage (multiple times) and lived on $45 a day.
We slept in a parking lot to avoid the hostel bill since our boat to Greece was departing at 6 am. We slept under a bench on the stern of the boat because it cost extra to sleep inside on a folding chair. We slept with our backpacks tied to us on the overnight train to Italy so the random thief crawling under the seats couldn’t steal them. I feel like we might have slept in a circus tent in Germany but I might be making that up (Maija?). I know we slept in a storage locker in Corfu. I’m positive about sleeping outside a bus station in Zurich while protecting one (or two) male backpackers from Japan.
Ireland is green for a reason. Rain. Hitchhiking is ok. And of course, when we did, we got picked up by Americans, the Supreme Court Justice for New York and his family.
We became hopelessly lost in Venice. A 200 year old man appeared out of nowhere and led us to our destination. He disappeared into thin air after. I will let you infer what that was all about.
Once we didn’t know whether we were in Belgium or Germany. Naturally we only had French Francs. I remember a discussion as to how to casually ask what country we were in so we knew how to convert our money, or you know, just know where we were.
I learned in Australia that “dear” means expensive, Aborigines have extremely large, really large, bladders, not all buses are created equal, the rain forest is called that for a reason, and Sean Penn thought my traveling companion was hot.
I met a Fijian in Fiji who was the son of a Chief. He spoke 11 languages and was extremely articulate. He lived in a metal shack like the rest of his village and majority of his country. I told him he should move to America as he could be a translator and work at the UN (I might even have mentioned money). Defining moment comes next as he said why would he want to do that as money is nothing and family is everything. I struggle to not be a dumb American ever since.
I could go on. Perhaps I will.
Using coins for a hot shower, triple bunk beds, 10 per room, co-ed, at Baumers in Switzerland. Ice climbing in Swiss Alps against my will (not being a wus made me do it.) Deciding the Forum in Greece was too expensive but the Sound Of Music tour in Austria was not. Understanding that personal space means oh so many things in so many cultures. I once, unintentionally, shared a phone booth with a donkey. Plate throwing is encouraged in some countries, never open a window on the subway in Germany, and, that of all the countries travelled, I understood the language the British spoke, the least.
Feeling that, yes, you were really sucking the marrow out of life, seizing the day, living large, and convinced that when you came home everyone would see you differently because you saw the world differently now, because you are different now.
Until you come home.
And get a temp job at Postal Headquarters in DC. I still clearly remember looking at my self in the bathroom mirror at work–my outdoor friendly, adventured, worldly self stuffed into a suit and nylons in an artificial, climate controlled, windowless world of cubicles and computers. Insert emoticon sobbing here.
But I saved, quit, and did it all again.
Fast forward to today. My outdoor friendly, adventured, worldly self is now stuffed into yoga pants and a denim shirt in a nice life with a family but who remembers and hears the whispers of another life before. Through the Travel section of the paper, through stupid Facebook, through the conversations with other well travelled friends, and books, books, and books my soul is starting to get a little haughty.
My soul is getting an attitude with me.
Far be it from me to continue to shove comfort and practicalities in my soul’s face.
Naturally, Denmark and Belize seem like a good place to start. And I have now, in addition to Proclaiming it, put it online, all that is left is Facebook–because if it is on that it must be real.
So Gentle Reader in the spirit of making things happen–feel free to comment with your own Proclamations.
And the World is Big and we are Small and Time is Short, dammit.