Little Old Me telling Little Old You to see the world.
I experienced my first airplane ride at the age of 24.
There’s no extraordinary reason for the delay, really. I grew up in a working-class household, and it was simply more economical to drive a family of five to the Jersey shore each summer. And I loved it. Still do, in fact. Wildwood and Cape May will always have a tender, salt-water-taffy-scented place deep in my heart.
So once I was out of college, working full-time as a teacher and for the first time in my life had a little bit of money, I accompanied my boyfriend (who is now The Sweet Husband) to visit his family in beautiful Colorado.
It changed me.
In the almost seven years since that first mile-high adventure, I’ve visited 12 European countries and 14 additional US states.
I’m extremely lucky.
The Husband loves to travel, more than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s also handy that he loves to plan all of the logistics and is a bonafide carrier-pigeon with his keen sense of direction.
I love it. And I love him for so many reasons. One of the most valuable things he has taught me is that there’s an enormous world out there, waiting to be seen.
You just gotta go.
And aside from my time teaching, traveling abroad has been the most influential experience of my life.
Arriving in Helsinki, feeling so very far from home, felt like a bucket of cold water to the face. You are here. This is not just a place on the map. These people are living their lives.
On Isle St. Louis, we awoke to the aroma of freshly-baked croissants. I walked next door and in pathetic, broken French ordered four. Sitting in our tiny Airbnb kitchen, we spread buttery-soft cheese on those pastries and savored every. goddamn. bite.
We sailed across The Baltic Sea, gazing out at the expansive array of blue.
We hopped on train after train. The Netherlands. Switzerland. Italy.
Each and every place I’ve been tells a story. There’s an ethereal feeling, like I’m in a dream or watching myself live my own life.
And when I come home, it feels different somehow. I’m different.
Traveling reminds me, in a comforting way, that our time on this planet is so very brief.
So how will I spend it?
I could stress about the cost of it all. I could park myself on the couch and worry about everything that could go wrong. I could vow to go “when the time is right” and 40 years from now wonder what might have been.
Or I could just go.
Because life is for the living, Dear Reader.
So go take a bite. Take a sip. Because it could all be over in an instant.