I was thrilled to find my brand new passport waiting in the mailbox when we returned from New Orleans. The only thing it’s missing is stamps from all over the world!
I got my first passport my freshman year of college. I had heard the school had summer trips all over the world but I initially passed up the opportunity. It wasn’t that I lacked interest in seeing the world, no quite the opposite – I couldn’t wait to see the world but I wasn’t sure what my family would say about such an excursion.
I’m from a very small town in Colorado. Both sides of my family have been there for over 100 years. To say my family likes to “hunker down and stay near the house” would be a huge understatement. In Cortez going to Denver is a big deal.
International travel was…well, why would you want to do that?
Every night in my dorm room I would look over the list of countries and imagine what it would be like to actually go see them. I promised myself that I would be on one of the trips the following year. Yeah, that’s what I told myself, trying to convince myself that was what I wanted to do. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do. The next thing I knew I had checked the box next to MYANMAR and turned in my paperwork.
You could say that was day that I chose courage over certainty.
I had no idea what I was in for.
I had no idea that one trip would turn into dozens.
I had no idea I would find myself in a foreign country.
At that point in my life I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. On the list of careers that is typically used by high school and college counselors use, none of them made me feel like they were worth getting up for in the morning. What I wanted to do was be a volunteer overseas and help children in orphanages but there wasn’t a program for that. That was on the list titled, “Get-Real-Moron-How-You-Gonna-Make-Money-Doing-That?”
Little did I know that travel would give me the courage to pursue who I really am, no matter what.
Every time I bought a plane ticket and headed for a land I had never seen, to a people I had never met, to a language I didn’t know, I exercised that little courage muscle. And little by little I began to see my world could be bigger than my hometown. My dreams could be as wild as the sights I saw and my “work” could be from my heart.
No one gets a passport without having a trip in mind (at least I don’t see why they would). And I’m no different. This passport has arrived because the time has come for me to get back on a plane, this time with Derek. It’s time to travel and I could write out a list of about 100 “I have no idea how…” but they just aren’t as important as following my heart.
Courage and uncertainty always co-exist, accept it.
It’s easy to get used to, even work toward a life that is doesn’t require courage on a regular basis. It’s easy to stick to the status quo. It’s easy to make a life on Certainty Lane (also known as Predictable Lane). I often slap myself and say what are you doing?! Your life is peachy, why do you gotta go do something crazy like this?
And every time I come back to this quote by E.E. Cummings:
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
Each night when we lay our heads on our pillows, only we know if we are exercising the courage to grow up to become who we really are. When we are, we get to experience a joy like no other…
Hungry for More, A. Monika
p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!