the downfalls of wanderlust

i’m not talking about how wanderlust eats you alive. i’m not talking about how much time you waste Googling flights, Top 10 lists for countries, foreign languages, pictures of food from the countries you long to go to or the countries you have been to–no, i’m talking about the social retaliations for being someone who has wanderlust pulsing the blood through her heart that i am so tired of. now before i start, if you are reading this and you were in the room for the comment that sparked this post, this irritation, this annoyance, please know i am not mad at the person who said it. this post has been a long time coming, built on top of comment after comment. please know that i am not hating on those who have not had the opportunity to travel outside of this country because i understand very well that my adventures have been opportunities, they have been blessings and i would not take that statement out of the world for a moment. no, i am ranting about the negative attitudes people attach to me for having traveled, about the not so positive labels people place on me for having traveled.

it is not as expensive to travel as it may seem at first glance. now, i understand that it isn’t cheap to travel either. a (decently priced) plane ticket to Europe cost $1000. who has a spare $1000 lying around? not me. but it is possible to travel cheaply. do you know how many lists of the free things to do in [insert name of city] here my parents or my family or I have made? thousands. you can eat cheaply too. you do not have to go out to eat every day. you can stay at places where there is breakfast included or you can shop at grocery stores, pulling this and that off of that shelf to make a meal. you don’t have to stay in a fancy hotel either. you can camp. you can couch surf. you can stay with friends, family, the friends of family, the friends of friends. you can stay in hostels too. yeah, they’re gross sometimes but they’re cheap! you have to know what is worth it, what you really want to do, and what church isn’t worth the entry fee. some churches are just fine being photographed from the outside. you have to make decisions. don’t go out and get wasted every night. drinking your way through the world is expensive. have a few nights here and there. also you don’t have to buy every single souvenir that you want. where are you going to put it all? pack wisely so that you don’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of money to check your luggage. let yourself go but don’t let your wallet go empty if you can’t afford to. if you really want to travel, save your money. put as much of your paycheck as you can in a jar or in the bank to save it for travel. i have traveled because it is what i live for. i worked 10 hour days for 10 weeks during the summer of 2012 in 110 degree heat. i came to Cottey partly because the money i saved coming here over another college, i wanted to use to travel. i choose to travel. it is not cheap, but neither is it bankrupt creating. it is just a choice.

that being said, there are other ways to travel. Study abroad. mission trips. programs like Amigos de Las Americas (shameless plug for Amigos, always and forever). I went to Panama for 2 months, TWO MONTHS, for $2,500. people spend that much money on a week in Italy. so decide what you want and make it happen.

i know i probably sound conceded. “oh look at —— going on and on about her wonderful travel experiences again. she thinks she’s so much better than us for having seen some of this world.” i know i sound like that. but i am so tired of people yelling at me because they’re jealous of the blessings i have been given. my family took a huge risk and welcomed a complete and total stranger into our house. Iida could have burnt our house down. she could have stolen from us. she could have done hundreds of things but we wanted to give to her, we wanted to welcome her, we wanted to learn from her, to form relationships and she wanted all that too, and so we jumped off the cliff with our eyes closed. we put our hearts on the table, wide and out in the open for anyone and everyone to stomp all over. and what did we get out of it? a sister. a new member of our family. and a place to stay in Finland (for free) every time we desire to go there, because that’s what family does for family. the same goes with Piera, Greta and Henrika, Tiarna, Leanne, my family in Panama. You can’t be mad at me because my family has taken risks, because i have taken risks. learn from me. let me share.

that’s all i want to do. share with you. all i am trying to do when i tell you stories and give you advice is to let you know what is out there because i want you to see it all too. i love you and i want to share these experiences, these adventures, this world, with you. because if you don’t have anyone you love to share it with, did it even happen?


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