I am a restless person. For as long as I can remember, this has been the case. I fantasize about far flung places. I day dream about escaping, adventuring, running away to some culturally eclectic city or disappearing in the wilds to live with dirt under my nails and twigs in my hair.
Growing up in my family we did more traveling than some, less than others, but what we did only served to fuel the fire of these dreams.
I remember camping in the keys. Swimming with colorful fish, Moray eel, seahorses, stingrays. I would float over kelp beds and watch life unfold below me. Once, in knee deep water, my dad pissed off a young Hammerhead shark and I nearly strangled him climbing onto his shoulders to get away.
I remember visiting museums in Washington DC, seeing a giant brass pendulum swinging across a room and a blue diamond the size of a ping pong ball. It was my first time being in a big city.
I remember camping in the Great Smoky Mountains with my family. The days were filled with hiking and exploring, playing in icy rivers for hours, seeing black bears, catching salamanders.
As a teen I would take road trips every summer with one of my closest girlfriends and her mom. We would pack up into an old van, drive to a little refuge of land in Alabama and camp out. The days would be punctuated by time in sweat lodges, dancing all night barefoot under the stars, meals in the community kitchen. I would get my first tattoo on one of these trips, a honey bee on the underside of my left wrist.
At some point I learned about New Orleans. This place spoke to me through the pages of books, the internet, stories I overheard. I had to go to New Orleans! Had to! So I saved up what little money I could, conspired with my then boyfriend and another close girlfriend, and between the three of us we made it happen. Drove all day and stayed at an eccentric B&B owned by a fellow Dane and his husband. I fell in love with NOLA, just as I knew I would. Vibrant music spilled from doorways, abandoned strings of beads dangled from wrought iron fences and sparkled in the gutters, people dropped their inhibitions and let life swell their souls to bursting.
It. Was. Amazing. And when I came home I started saving my money again, but this time it was with the intention of moving there. Then Hurricane Katrina happened. I took that as a sign I should probably change my plans.
Somehow Chicago hit my radar. I visited. I was probably 23 or 24, and this would be my first time on a plane. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt right about this city. I knew I wouldn’t want to live there forever, but I felt like I needed to live there for a least a little while.
I moved to Rogers Park, experienced snow for the first time, started working at a fantastic little bar/restaurant that was just down the street from me called The Heartland Cafe. It is at this very establishment that I would meet and fall in love with one of the bartenders, the man who, 7+ years later, would become my husband.
That bartender and I eventually moved to Portland Oregon together. A 5 day road trip from Chicago to Portland with a man I had only been in a relationship with for 7 or 8 months. I had never even been to the West Coast when we hit the road, I just trusted the adventure and went with it.
It was everything I had hoped it would be and more! It was all the places I loved combined into one! An eccentric and culturally interesting city surrounded by mountains, rivers, waterfalls, not too far from one of the most breathtaking coast lines I have ever seen in my life! We don’t live there anymore, but I know it’s an adventure we’ll never forget.
As of late I have found myself again restless, again feeling the pull of places outside of my everyday surroundings. This is not surprising. I’ve been focusing on establishing myself in a new career, planning an awesome wedding & getting hitched to an amazing man, dealing with all the highs and lows that life has been throwing at me these days. I have felt myself crumpling under the need to escape, being torn by the overwhelming pull to throw it all aside and go, asking myself “Where have all the adventures gone”? But there is a light up ahead.
A new adventure to new places. Amsterdam & Madrid. We leave Tuesday, and I’ve never even been outside of the United States. This is going to be amazing! ♥