I've been lucky that thus far in my 26 (almost 27-eek!) years I've been able to experience a lot. When we were young my parents made it a priority to go somewhere each spring break to see the country and the world and enjoy each others company. Hiking trails in Arizona, lounging on the beaches of San Diego, experiencing the wonder of Club Meds in Ixtapa Mexico and Eluthera, Bahamas were a few of our trips. In college I was able to spend two January terms abroad, one on a religion trip in Rome, Florence, and Germany and the other an english trip to Ireland. In my first married year I visited my sister who had just moved to Boston and took a solo trip to France to visit one of my best friends, John, I had a blast.
::sausages from a street vendor in Germany, in the rain (junior year)::
Now that time of my life is over, for a while at least. I am settled. The prospect of going ANYWHERE on my own, with Ian, or as a whole family is 10 times as difficult, not to mention expensive. While I am saddened that it will be years and years before I get to jump the pond again or experience a new place with that carefree vigor of youth I am thankful for the experiences that I have had and where my life is now.
::getting ready to fly the trapeze in the Bahamas (maybe 8 years old-ish?)::
::lounging beachside on Grand Cayman with my sisters (Freshman year)::
I think that travelling is one of the most important things that a person can do to grow and learn about themselves. I remember going to the airport as a junior in high school, meeting up with a group of about 15 classmates and boarding the plane for Germany for 2 weeks. Staying with a host family that spoke NO english and traveling around a country that I new very little about taught me a thing or two about myself, what I can handle, who I am. That trip opened so many doors for me. It taught me that I am resilient (no clean clothes for 2 weeks!) and capable (being led around blindly as my host sister didn't speak english at ALL). I fell in love with one of my best friends on that trip (yes you Lisa!) and had so much fun trying new foods, meeting new people, and exploring a new country and culture.
::Lisa's and my budding love, for coffee and each other (junior year of high school)::
::kayaking at upward bound::
I realize though, after some thought, that while my kind of travelling may change, personal growth through new experiences is still very much a part of my life. While I may not be travelling to foreign destinations and learing new languages, going to the library with two little ones and managing a hectic story time seems enough of an adventure most days. I am learning the language of toddlerdom, a tricky one I tell you. I am seeing old beloved places in a new light, through the eyes of my daughters: Sanibel Island, Montana, grandparents houses, cabins. I am rekindling my love for my old favorites and savoring each precious moment in whatever place I happen to be with my family.
::with John in France, I felt pretty cool in those sunglasses::
::I do NOT in fact know how to play the accordion, beer convinced me otherwise (Donegal, Ireland junior year of college)::
I am so thankful for my experiences thus far and hope to give our children the same opportunities that Ian and I have been given. For now, we'll explore our neighborhood, Chicago, and anywhere that we can drive to and back from in a day. We'll take advantage of the generosity of our parents and friends to show our girls our favorite places, and someday we'll find some new favorites all our own.
P.S. I am particularly DYING to go on a Backroads bike trip with Ian. 5 year anniversary anyone?