Wanderlust, that’s me

Change in scenery is definitely what the doctor ordered.

When traveling you are always in the now. You have no choice. You can only live in the moment because the moment is so novel and demands your full attention. The moment is full of new sounds, smells, and sights. You strain to hear each exotic syllable. You read signs you normally wouldn’t. You are more aware of your body in space and others. Even the simplest things in life that you just gloss over every other day, like a simple tree, feel stop worthy. 

Very few people really know me like those that travel with me. I’m completely different. I feel more me than ever when traveling. The real me without a role to play, except to just observe and learn. That is where I thrive best.

And I don’t travel. Oh no!  I adventure.

No itinerary. No rules, except complete immersion into the culture and saying “yes.” “Yes, I will try that ice cream. Yes, I will walk into this hole in the bar.” YES. YES. YES. 

Because why not?

No good answer there. Never a good answer.  You only have the now.

This has gotten me in some exciting and interesting spots. I recall the first time Steve and I traveled abroad. He didn’t know what he was getting into. Within the first night, I befriended strangers at a bar and the next thing we know we are in their car going to clubs.  ADVENTURE!

I have been to 52 countries and circumvented the world by boat. I think I must be a nomad. I feel best as a nomad. I don’t need much. I could live out of a backpack. I feel alive in learning mode and in travel you are always in learner mode. It started young. My parents allowed me to live in London with my best friends from High school the summer of our sophomore year. I know this concept now feel unfathomable. What a shame for the future generations, because I credit this summer with the beginning of my life. We had to figure out how to survive. How to get around, etc. It was that summer that I learned how to “adult.”

But my love of travel just continues to grow with age. However, it has taken a different spin… nicer hotels! No longer are the days that I would just show up somewhere and then find a place to stay. We have these things called “reservations!” But still, even with Steve and our hotel reservations, we travel by the seat of our pants. Rent a scooter, point and go. No expensive shopping, just street jewelry for flair.

Even with our children, we roam. Here one of the scooter we rented in Bermuda with Jacob on Steve’s back. I had Benno. And here is the beach we stumbled upon by just pointing to interesting roads and getting lost

And getting lost?! That is the best. I love wandering streets and trying to get lost. Lost means you get to be lost from your reality and then you get to figure your way out of it. That is true travel!  You can get lost and return a different person! That experience is what builds true confidence and that can’t be taught in the classroom. That is why Mind the Gap doesn’t have a classroom, it has a city to get lost in.
Here are some of the places Steve and I have found when lost.

I have so many fond memories of being lost. Except for that time I found myself lost in Russia at a rave in the middle of nowhere…that was not so fun, but learned a lot! LOTS OF LESSONS on that journey. First lesson, don’t wear heels to a rave in the middle of a field. Raves and heels don’t go period.

I think my favorite lost time was in Cuba in 2001. I was on a mission to meet “Poppy.” He was a healer in a small town that I heard about from a local I met through a student at the University of Havana. I knew very little except to get to the town where Poppy lived I would need to take a boat ride. I remember the directions given to me. “Get on the boat and then just ask for Poppy.” I swear that was it. Alrighty! Off I went.

The first obstacle was getting on the boat. It cost less than a penny. The driver didn’t know what to do with my penny. I kept insisting in my broken Spanish to keep it (this is why I’m so passionate about bilingualism!), but they refused and in the end let me ride for free. I sat next to three chickens on the way out. Once there, I found a dilapidated town and was getting more and more lost. The first person I ran into was a young girl. I have always connected with children first. “Donde esta Poppy?” She pointed to a door and there I was, knocking on some strange person’s front door. It was, in fact, Poppy’s door.  I spent an hour with Poppy, amazed that this young American girl had heard of him or found him. He has told me things that remain with me today.

But being in the now for this trip is allowing me to see and enjoy Jacob. I’m not worried about tomorrow or his upcoming birthday but just delighted to watch him take in this new world. And I am happy to report that his method of intake is through his mouth. He has not stopped eating! He is making up for the weeks of not eating in a few days! His color already looks better. It has been so nice to see.

And look at my boys.

So the wanderer is back in her habitat.

Getting lost to be found.


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