(Dear Reader- I spent some time editing my website this evening and found drafts of writing that were sifted somehow amongst the catacombs of HTML, and never actually published. Below are a few paragraphs that I wrote minutes after buying a plane ticket for my first transatlantic flight. Having recently returned from that excursion, the paragraphs strike me now as comical. This is one of the things that I enjoy most about writing- it allows us to be all the more cognizant of how we grow, change and transform as people.
I sound as though I am excited for the adventure in the paragraphs below, but I can tell you that I was unequivocally terrified of what I had just done- not only at the sum of money spent, but at the idea of transatlantic flight. I wish that I were braver and cooler, but I am not. I was terrified. But, as I said, writing allows us to watch ourselves grow and change and I can say without question that I would jump at the opportunity to make another transatlantic flight and indeed, that I intend to.
Thanks, as ever, for reading,
I really ought to be sleeping. After all, well rested people make solid decisions. But I am not sleeping. I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief. I am shaking my head in awe and wonder and trying to come to terms with what I have just done. Terms refuse to be reached, however. My rational brain cannot process what my irrational finger has just done and, quite frankly, I’m not sure how to feel about it.
Surely it’s excitement, but it’s also an awful lot of trepidation as well.
I’ve just made good on a promise to several friends and purchased a ticket to travel to Ireland this February. We’re no longer talking about it, no longer working out logistics. The ticket has been purchased (which, in airlineticketland basically means “You may under no easy or convenient circumstances get out of what you have just done. Short of emptying your savings, giving us your left kidney and/or tattooing our company’s logo on your forehead as advertising, you are getting on the plane.”). I am going to a foreign country. I am leaving on a jet plane.
I really ought to be sleeping. After all, well rested people make solid decisions.
Travel, in and of itself, is not irrational. Please don’t misconstrue the things that I’ve said thus far. I really enjoy traveling. Road trips are an absolute delight and I rarely, if ever, turn them down. But road trips stay well within the borders of the country where I hold citizenship. Roads lead to highways, which are linked by interstates and freeways and those things all, through a variety of winding paths, get back to my house without having to cross major bodies of water.
It’s that “foreign country” bit that has really got me shaking my head.
This is not to say that I am in any way, shape or form against foreign countries. From everything that I read (and am made to understand by my lovely world-traversing friends), I believe that I may very well be happier somewhere other than the United States. Still, “may very well” and “am” are very, very different things.
What’s missing is precedence.
My family, for all of their many admirable qualities (and they have more than a few, if I do say so myself), are not and have never been world travelers. We’ve never even considered it, quite honestly. Europe is a “nice idea”. South America sounds “lovely”. Australia must be an “absolute wonder”. But our functioning belief is that foreign countries are simply shapes that help to fill up the empty spaces on the globe.
They are not places a person goes.
Which is why I really ought to be sleeping. After all, well rested people make solid decisions and do not subvert long held family traditions of boundary and place. But I am not sleeping. I am buying an airline ticket. I probably will not sleep at all tonight. If I do, I will dream of an airplane or of Ireland. Now that I think about it, until I actually leave on said jet plane, I will only sleep fitfully knowing that in the near future, I, the personal pronoun meaning “me”, will be going to a foreign country.
So here’s to hoping that ill rested people can make solid decisions, too.