Yesterday, on my Wordpress admin page, I noticed something on the right side- a reminder to finish a draft of a post I had written exactly 3 years ago on my old blog. The post was titled "Travel Bug". I didn't remember writing this post, and I had it categorized under "Rants", so I didn't really know what to expect when I clicked on it to see what my past self was thinking. I was shocked when I realized just how perfect this post is- the comparison of where I was 3 years ago to now is awesome. All I wanted to do was travel and experience the world, only I had no idea how to do it, or even that I really COULD do it. And now I'm laughing to myself as I read my own words, and can't help but excitedly state out loud "Holy crap we're doing this! We're really going to travel the world!" Before you read my flashback post, here are some main differences between then and now:
- I don't have any debt anymore, and we are NOT financing our RTW Trip on credit!! (I cannot stress this enough!)
- I learned how to save for more than just a rainy day - a great budget and careful planning is how we're able to do this.
- The "someone who might come with me" is now my husband, Jake.
- I'm no longer jealous of all of the amazing places people have been. Instead, I just add them to my list of adventures to take at some point. A very real, very attainable list.
- We did not spend our honeymoon in Bora Bora, we spent it in Belize and it was AWESOME.
And so, enjoy my never-before-posted post, written 2/8/2012:
As I watch all of my work friends plan their sabbatical vacations, listen to their itineraries and their hopes and dreams and expectations of their lavish and adventurous trips that take up weeks of their Outlook calendars, I find myself feeling something I rarely feel. Cold, hard, jealousy.
Spain, Morocco, Argentina, Rome, Thailand, Australia, Greece, Prague, Amsterdam...these are just a few of the amazing destinations they'll be going to. They've worked here for over 4 years, they've earned their (at least) 10 days of sabbatical on top of whatever PTO they've saved up. How they're paying for it, well I have no idea because I don't think they save anymore money than I do (credit card companies rejoice!). But who cares- they're young, hungry for adventure, curious about life thousands and thousands of miles away, eager to see how people build, eat, talk, commute, interact, and express themselves, and bold enough to actually book the flights to go for it all. And I'm jealous. I'm jealous of the amount of PTO/Sabbatical they have because they've been here for a year longer than I (I can take my sabbatical starting July 21, 2012, so I'm not that far off!). I'm jealous that they aren't afraid of the credit card debt they will, no doubt, be going into in order to take make these incredible experiences happen. I'm jealous of the fact that they know how to convert their credit card points into airline miles so they don't have to pay for EVERYTHING (I seriously need to start looking into my credit card's reward program). I'm jealous that they have enough guts, enough tenacity, enough "I'm going to do this and figure out out later" attitude to go for it. I'm jealous that they are going to have more stamps in their passports, and stories they'll remember forever. I'm jealous that they're taking advantage of the fact that they don't have any real responsibilities and are taking life by the horns to go see some cool stuff. It's not often that I seriously want what other people have. I rarely feel this unyielding sense of jealousy. But right now, damn. I wish I could go with them.
The travel bug has bitten me. The curiosity inside me has reached a point at which it can no longer be ignored. Google Image searches and other peoples pictures are no longer satisfying. I've reached a point where, if I don't explore the world around me right now, I'll miss my opportunity to do it forever. I mean, clearly at some point later in my my life I'll be able to go somewhere, but I will never have the chance to pick up and go like I can right now. Right now I have no kids, no pets, no one relying on me for survival. In the future, who knows what I'll have to use as an excuse to stay within 100 miles of home at all times. Right now is the perfect time to create my own adventure. So why aren't I starting to plan it? Why don't I jump on the itinerary bandwagon and just go for it? Because it's expensive! I can't afford it! I don't even have money "for a rainy day". If I lost my job tomorrow I'd have to start selling my stuff and cry on the phone to anyone who would listen. And I know I should be a responsible adult and get that figured out. So the number one reason keeping my feet securely planted on SF soil is money money money. The number two reason? Well, honestly, I don't think my parents "would let me" go to many places, out of fear that I'll be the Nancy Grace star of a real life "Taken" situation (yes I do realize that I'm 27 and that many of you will tell me that my parents can't tell me what to do anymore- yes they can). And the guilt I would feel at upsetting them for going to a country that they aren't comfortable with is quite restraining. While my friends are laughing at me for not having the guts to just do it (I was never really the rebellious type), I'm staring longingly at vacation packages online to places I know they won't agree with.
Someday, someday in the near future, I will go to these places. I will go on my own adventure that will be exciting, and fun, and exhausting, and even a little dangerous. I'll see mountain ranges and oceans and lakes and rivers and deserts (ok, maybe not deserts, who am I kidding?) and art and architecture and food and drinks and people. I'll take it all in and charge it all to my credit card and it will be liberating for my soul and crushing for wallet. I think I know who would go with me (because I certainly don't want to travel alone!), and I think he'd like to go to all of these places with me, especially since he's barely been out of the country. Just like me.
So while they've all been confirming plans, I've been making lists. Lists of places I'd like to go, things I'd like to do. And, just in case I really can't (or shouldn't) afford a grand trip abroad, I've even started making a list of places I'd like to go within to safe confines of the US. You know, just in case I chicken out the next time I tell my parents I'm taking a vacation.
Within the US:
Jackson Hole - Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon
Salt Lake (to ski/board)
Austin (for ACL)
New Orleans...maybe (for Mardi Gras...maybe.)
Churchill Downs, Lousiville
Back to New Hampshire
Acadia National Park in Maine
A cruise to Alaska
And random places around Canada to hike, like around Whistler/Vancouver, or to any waterfalls. (Canada is basically still being within the US, I mean please.)
Outside the US:
Specific, and I mean VERY specific, parts of Mexico. Like the parts tourists go to to sit on the beach and drink margaritas and actually survive. Ok maybe i don't need Mexico...
Anywhere in France. All over France.
Ireland. The Cliffs, Galway, and Dublin.
As my parents say, Scandinavia. Sure. I want to bike through it, white water raft down it.
Spain. I want to eat tapas and sangria. all night long.
Whatever part of Africa is actually not having civil unrest. so i can go look at lions and tigers. but no bears. oh my.
Thailand, for the beaches. and the food
Austrailia/New Zealand, preferably in one trip.
Turks and Caicos
Anywhere tropical. yup. anywhere.
Someday, I will go on my honeymoon here:
All I have to do next is book it all. One small step for my friends. One giant step for Noelle. :::::Sigh::::: someday.