My eyes and mind are shut off. The room is dark and has the faintest hint of eucalyptus wafting through the air. I breath, my face squished against a pillow, when I feel hands knead into my fleshy shoulders. I’m getting a massage (a gift from my mom shout out) and while the masseuse attacks my knots, I begin to write my blog in my mind. I guess I can safely say, I like this. And y’all.
My mind drifts from vision to vision on what this post should be about and it keeps returning to the same thought – traveling. Anywhere. Everywhere. Near. Far (going to the grocery store for OREOs does not count as traveling…says my husband).
I’m taken back to my “Goals” list I wrote when I was about 13. It had the regular aspirations of a 13 year old lady. Things like: Meet Oprah, help cultivate world peace, become the first billionaire in my family (why I thought this would be a race, I cannot be sure), donate $1 million to all these different charities, fall in love, and travel. Thinking back to this list, I realized just how much I failed at life. My only vessel of triumph has been Victor, of course. Falling in love with him and him helping me made the other love of my life, Mateo. Aside from that, my only hope to live up to my very lofty aspirations is to travel (and technically writing, but let me self-loaf for a hot second).
To let you all in on a secret, when you grow up not quite knowing what your tomorrow will be, you don’t spend your money frivolously on just anything. So, when the time came that I was given the opportunity to travel, I had immense anxiety. Luckily, I had saved some money, had always really wanted to travel around, and was being gently pushed by my husband. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have gone and if you’re not at this place in your life yet – I don’t blame you. I understand your little nugget of stability may be better off in your bank account. However, if you feel like you should even in the slightest, most affordable way, I would encourage you to do so.
I have just begun.
Not a shit ton, but enough to where I think my younger self would be pleased. Paris, London, Rome, Berlin, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Venice and US cities can be crossed off my list. But this isn’t about me (technically it is…This Is Queso Blanco mother truckers) but this is where I try to convince you to do what I do, because I do it. And because I love you. I wanted to share my lust for wander.
If you’re a reader, this will be easy for you to understand. Imagine being transported somewhere new and exciting with every turn of the page. Our intrinsic desires to be consistent and archaic are abruptly shown they cannot flourish in a world that has it’s own pulse and movements (channeling my inner Pocahontas). Traveling insights fear, but only fear of not staying the same. Mark Twain says it best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of [wo]men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Explore Pinterest, develop a lust for places, eat the cuisine, talk to those around you who may be able to provide you with a new viewpoint on the same story. To me, traveling unlocks a childlike euphoria that only fades when the next itch for traveling begins to crawl up my leg. It’s an insatiable urge to run, swim, drive, hang glide to the nearest airport and hop on a flight to anywhere. Some of my best memories with my husband have been meeting strangers (not that way, sickos). From the cruise line performer who we now share friendship bracelets with to the French tour guide who brought us beer and kissed us when he told him we were engaged. We still smile at the very basic exchange of human emotion, and the memory we were left with.
Of course, that’s not all it is about. When you travel, you get to re-meet old acquaintances. Walking the streets of Paris, you get to see the cafes and bars and restaurants Hemingway stumbled home from in a drunken delight or the loft Van Gogh stayed in while he surely found his inspiration in the Parisian streets. Or you get to meet Anne Boleyn in her final resting place in London. Walk the streets that some of the greatest men and women before you have walked. Look at the same moon, feel the same breeze on your face. And you get to witness the non-historic faces as well. The Berlin streets, covered in tiny gold reminders of who would have lived or worked where, before being taken from their homes. The tiny back alleys that were breeding grounds for cholera and plagues. Through traveling, you get to feel and see and taste all every place has to offer.
Also, its a lot less frowned upon to drink wine all day and eat cheese all day every day…just saying.
Do you research. Read the book. Watch the documentary. Eat the food. Listen to the locals. And thrive.
As I pack for an upcoming trip, Rick Steve’s voice rings in my head – pack light. This is the first trip I feel as though I had done so. My first time traveling abroad, my luggage was lost for a day and a half. I was in a panic, but learned how little I actually needed. This time, I am not letting my bag out of my sight and I packed in a way that would be Rick Steve’s approved. 10 days in Europe, with a baby and just a backpack as my luggage.
First things first, plan. Plan out your outfits. Check the weather. Know generally what you will do on certain days to dress accordingly. For instance, you can’t be sleeve-less in the Vatican, so I have a certain romper that will be prudent enough to get into the Vatican while still being respectful. The weather will be in the mid eighties and I can wear multiple shirts with different shorts, making for easy packing. Dresses don’t take a lot of room, so I try to pack them often. Every article of clothing is thought about for longer than I wish to admit, but it works. If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not actually not going to work out. If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not really going to need three sweaters in 80 degree weather. Just be honest and real with yourself.
Then, I used compression bags (the rolling ones – not vacuum – here’s the link on Amazon if you want them).
I, then, grabbed some clothes for my son and rolled them up to put them in my bag in the gaps between the compression bags. Then, I topped with with makeup, shoes, and bathroom stuff. Again, had to plan out my make up (which sucked) and minimize my bathroom options. Topped it off with putting some diapers in the front flap and wipes and tissues in the other flap and I was good to go.
Then, I planned out some things to put in my purse. Including, passports, IPad, headsets for my son, because all rules are off for an international flight. Let me know if you want an update on how this flight goes with him. ***snacks not included in picture, but you bet your bottom dollar they will be there. If you need some ideas on what is easy and travel wells, here’s a link to another post for an easy muffin recipe.
Best of luck! Wish me luck with this flight and travels. Los amo amigos.