There is a certainty I have “some miles” on me, but also a sense of being far from being old. What puts that vantage point into perspective is knowing a decade from now I will be less than a year from turning seventy. That too does not feel really “old”. However, I know the body slows from my experience so far. In spite of exercise and being active, physical endurance and ability deteriorates over time; more rapidly as age accumulates. None of that was written as sad lamenting, but rather a statement of truth and a warning to myself to not put off my dreams too long.
The adventures I have long dreamed of have their roots in the books I read as a kid and movies I saw then. Reading James Bond novels in middle school gave me a sense of adventure in varying locales, but its 007’s European escapades that stuck with me. Although I’ve traveled Europe a dozen times I have a list of twenty-six countries left to explore. Seeing Tarzan movies with adventurers exploring the jungle looking for some great treasure put into me a love of things exotic and places far away. The need to see what is yet unspoiled in the world gnaws at me. Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer had adventures that to this day seem like those I should have along a pristine river or backwoods; the small amount of the ‘middle of no where’ still left unadulterated.
Many Americans travel hoping for all the comforts of home in a foreign country, but my view is, if that is what you want why go? I suggest those people stay home and watch travel shows on television. A good part of my love of visiting new places is the sense of unknown, and even discomfort that makes me so completely alive and etches those moments so memorably within. It’s been said that a person becomes smoothed by life from the friction living has upon him or her much like a rock is smoothed by the chafing of fast-moving water in a river. Maybe it is my bad childhood, maybe it is childish sense of exotic voyages, maybe it is at least some part illusion or disillusion; maybe it is wanderlust, but facing the unknown makes me feel completely alive and content. That’s an absolute fact and I know it for certain. If I’m a bit crazy, then I love being nuts!
Sitting here trying to explain myself I come up short of words that accurately express what I feel inside right now. All I know is when contemplating extended travel for weeks on end if not months, my soul lights up in a way that says “yes, yes, yes”, my heart beats a little faster, my mind is electrified with a charged flow of thoughts and I swear my whole body feels aglow with excitement. What can that be other than genuine desire to put my feet on the path of destiny I have been set for since childhood?
There is this logical, rational and even somewhat fearful speaker within saying, “that makes no sense”, “why would you want to do that?”, “you could get robbed/sick/hurt/lost/etc”, “you should be working and saving for retirement” and so on ad nauseam. That voice in my head has led me astray so many times and brought justification for doing what at the depths of my being I truly did not want to do. This must not be forgotten! Such “thinking” has led me wrong so frequently, but my deep feelings rarely have. What I feel way down at an instinctive spiritual/soul level is centered in my chest reaching down to my stomach. I feel it strongly at this moment as my spirit speaks softly my truth for me to share.
If only I could tell you of the exhilaration I feel from just writing today about being a vagabond traveling the world. There are no words that accurately tell of my beautiful unrest that knows experiencing far beyond what I know is the medicine needed to “live long and prosper”. It won’t be next week or next month, but my great adventure will begin before too much longer. Don’t be surprised if it is next year!!!! I am grateful for the joy I feel at this moment to know my yearning of a lifetime has been spoken aloud to the world and has a chance to come true. I am on the threshold of a dream.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.