tell me when it kicks in

I had a strange revelation, realization, whatever you want to call it, that I could buy a plane ticket and just go somewhere. I could show up a few days late for classes and not be “in trouble” with anyone except the piles of homework waiting for me.

Mom-mom saw a lot of this earth her last two decades here. She and Pop planned trips everywhere, from Jamaica to Russia. She wasn’t very picky with where she went, so long as she saw and learned. She would come back with stories about nude beaches in Spain and floating down the Rhine while drinking wine. She could have stayed forever in Hawaii and wanted so badly to visit Egypt and ride a camel (then it got dangerous and she got sick).

She died when I was fourteen and here I am at twenty-one, desperately wishing I had asked her more about the people she met and the tiny memories she kept and what the food tasted like in Munich.

Our first class of Global Issues last semester, Dr. J went around the room and had each student talk about their international experience. I listened to how they grew up as missionary kids or worked at internships in Asia or backpacked through Europe and then my turn came. “I actually haven’t been anywhere.” The words came out quietly and my professor’s face dropped and I wanted to proudly add, “But soon as I have some money and time I’m going to go everywhere!” But Dr. J moved on to another topic and I sat there with that burning, achy feeling in my belly that only comes when I think about hearing the sounds of a new country and finally tasting pizza from an Italian street.

I’m sure you’re reading this and lumping me in with everyone else who “has the travel bug” and feels that sense of “wanderlust” and wants to “start over” somewhere new, but I hope you won’t put me in that category and I hope you won’t think less of me for tamping down that desire to go.

I ache to see the world, but it isn’t my time yet. I still have a few things to iron out here before I find out if the Dead Sea is really so floaty as everyone says and if New Zealand feels like Middle Earth and if I can get one of those Buckingham palace guards to grin just a little bit.

My time to travel will come, and the stories I come back with will be worth the wait.

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