Wondering about Wanderlust

Wondering about Wanderlust

My passport is still sitting on my bedside table.

You know, the table that holds a little lamp, the latest book I’m reading, my (cheap) jewelry, a few hair ties and whatever I may empty from my pockets at the end of the day. Oh, and on nights that I can’t sleep or have a little cough, there’s also a glass of water just waiting to be tipped over when I reach across to silence my alarm in the morning. This is not the proper place for a passport to rest.

Passport Ready | Moving Peaces

Upon returning from a recent trip to Argentina, I immediately threw all of my clothes in the wash, but the rest of my bag and all of its contents lingered. I removed my passport out of my purse and probably just placed it on the table in passing before returning it back to its rightful place in the safe. But now I just can’t bring myself to do it.

It feels like putting it away is acknowledging that a chapter of my life has closed. The chapter where I travel to different parts of the world and experience all sorts of new things. Whether that’s true or not, I do not know. Without a firm answer to that question, I cannot bring myself to tuck it away. Every morning, there’s my passport…simultaneously inspiring me and taunting me, suggesting there’s more to explore and another adventure yet in store.

I’m not sure what I’m more afraid of: the end of an era or what it would take to call myself a world-traveler.

I love to travel. I love learning about another culture and talking with people who live in an area so different than my own. This isn’t a quest for a nonstop vacation or spending time in countless resorts. To me, travel is about exploration…in hopes of bettering myself and the world. Hearing the stories of others, challenging myself to go outside my comfort zone and helping those I encounter along the way.

But when do we know it’s time to stop? When is it time to focus on what’s in front of us instead of constantly searching for more? When is it pursuing dreams and when is it discontentment or worse, disillusion? What if a pursuit of travel is far from meaningful–barely even personal development and merely selfishness in disguise?

What is it that I am trying to accomplish? Is it worthwhile? Is it necessary? Is it beneficial? At what cost?

I’ve wrestled with these questions constantly, leaving me unsettled and almost frantic for some sort of resolve or conclusion, to no avail. Hence, my passport and I maintain our standstill, unable to move forward and unwilling to turn back.

Why? Why is this my response? Normal people can take a trip for two weeks, show off the photos and talk about how they had great a time before returning to regular daily life. Either I’m not normal, or I don’t want to be.

Call me naive, but I so desperately want to be intentional with my life–to do something, to make it count. At home it seems that I can’t help but fall into a routine between work, friends, a few hobbies and some TV. Maybe that’s why travel is so appealing to me–it forces me out of that routine. It asks so much more from me, and I eagerly comply.

I see travel as my opportunity, my challenge to do something more than live a predictable and average American life. What if I set foot on every continent, learned another language and propelled my life towards a bigger story full of excitement and uncertainty? A few weeks of travel here and there over the course of a lifetime hardly feels like enough time to embrace and understand another culture. What if I challenged myself to leave everything I’ve ever known for some sort of unknown across the world? What a life to live, what a story to tell…isn’t that worth pursuing?

Conversely, what would I be leaving? Career aspirations, friendships, community, roots. Would the pursuit of international exploration risk or overlook my commitments, lasting relationships or long-term investments? Could that leave me feeling empty and shallow, despite the collection of incredible photos?

I was given this life, my life, and I can’t stand the idea of just letting it slide on by. I don’t want to “play it safe” and gradually surround myself with comfort and routine, yet I don’t want to chase a life of adventures merely for the sake of a bucket list or another story to tell while potentially undervaluing commitment, consistency and responsibility.

Maybe it’s not one or the other. Maybe there’s a balance to be found in it all without compromising one or the other. For some, perhaps the answer is more clear, but for me it continues to be a struggle. So, my passport, a simple booklet with a few stamps, sits by my bed and waits while begging the question: what’s next?


About Having Babies

About Having Babies

Grandma holding her baby - photo

Never did I think this would be a topic I would write about, at least not until maybe after the fact. But talk to any stranger in the grocery store all the way up to your best friends and suddenly it no longer feels like a personal matter. Everyone is quick to ask when we plan to have these sweet little cherubs.

If you had asked me in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I usually said something along the lines of “being a mom.” I’d start out by talking about college or maybe some sort of career in the meantime, but that wasn’t the real goal in my mind. When we got married, we told people we were on the “five-year plan” (why people feel they need to know that is beyond me). A couple years ago we joked with people that we were on the “nonstop five-year plan” meaning we were always five years out from having kids. The great thing about saying five years is that it is close enough that people are assured we think kids are in our future but far enough away that people hopefully stop asking us about it for awhile. Lately it feels like the questions have grown more serious and our “five-year” response isn’t doing the trick anymore–but I don’t really know. I’d still say give it time. Plenty of time. We’re in no real rush.

To be honest, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the weight of it all. The idea of raising someone in this world. Our world that’s full of hardship and disappointment, wars and disease. The thought of navigating all of life’s pitfalls through the eyes of the next generation.

I find myself rushing through so much of life right now. Rushing to secure my next job and settle into a career path. Scrambling to live life to its fullest by hardly ever saying “no” to spending time with friends. Hustling to establish a blog that reaches people beyond my immediate circles. Pushing to plan a trip of a lifetime out of the country somewhere with my husband. And over the weekend I realized why–I feel like I have to fit it all in before kids. I want to make sure I accomplish so many of these goals before I have another major priority in my life. I think that’s why there’s this huge sense of urgency in me.

In all actuality, I want kids and so does the hubby. So don’t you worry your pretty little head. One day we’ll add a few littles to this household, and it will be messy, loud, crazy and wonderful all at once. But as the reality of that creeps closer I wrestle with what that might mean. Am I overthinking it? Or worse, underthinking it? (Is that even a word?)

Maybe every potential parent has these fears or feels the magnitude of such things. Or maybe instead they were thrust into it before having enough time to really think it over yet somehow they seem to manage just fine. I suppose time (and a kid or two) will tell.


p.s. Sorry if I got your hopes up…this is clearly not an announcement.

What I Have

The last week, two weeks, month have been a total blur. I made mention of my job situation in the beginning of May, but it didn’t stop there. About a week later my grandma passed away. A grandma who was dearly loved but had suffered with Parkinson’s disease for far too long. Suddenly I found myself with more time than I could have imagined, enabling me to make a trip back to the Midwest to be with family. As much as I feel like I should sit around wallowing sometimes, I’m grateful that the timing of things worked out the way it did. 

What now? Time will tell. With everything going on, I haven’t really had the time to reflect on it all and come up with my plans, goals and dreams for the future. I have, however, been able to spend time with some wonderful people who have been so encouraging and considerate. I am surrounded by so much good, it’s unbelievable. Selfishly, I want to act as though everything in life isn’t fair. When those little waves of panic hit where I realize I have no idea what tomorrow will look like, I want to hide under the covers and cry for a good long time. For fleeting moments I want to shout “woe is me!” or throw a fit at the injustices of the world. But I can’t. I have so much. People have shown incredible love and care for me/us. My life is good. I have such joy

Sometimes I worry that saying it out loud will cause something else bad to happen just to test me.Sure, I’m tired and stressed and unsure of what my future holds. I haven’t slept much lately and still get sick from time to time. I doubt my abilities and question my dreams. I don’t know where all of this is going, and it completely freaks me out sometimes. Saying I have joy doesn’t mean it has been easy. I want it to all be better, to suddenly come together all tied up with a bow, just because I’m still smiling about it. But I don’t get that guarantee. None of us do. 

So, bear with me as I will likely have ups and downs while facing the unknown. Today though, let’s focus on the joy. 

Gettin’ Real Educated

In the stack of library books I took home tonight was a GRE prep book. Wait, what? I must admit, pursuing a master’s degree has been a fleeting thought before, but not one that has ever progressed this far. I can’t say what it means or speak to the implications of what may follow. Maybe I’ll never look at a single page. Maybe I’ll ace the test. I’m sure that I can’t do both of those…”one or none of the above” would be the correct answer here. We’ll see. Tonight is not the night, I’ve got a date with the hubby, a movie and some Trader Joe’s, so it’ll sit in my library bag for now. At the very least, I should probably find out what GRE stands for before going much further…because I have a feeling “Gettin’ Real Educated” is not its hidden meaning.

Us–We’re Doing Alright

That basically sums it up. Over a quick weekend out-of-town, I think it sunk in for me. We’re doing alright. We are. We really are. And past that, we’re growing and learning and healing and developing. Some of the past few days, and even weeks, have been rough. Some of them have been as easy as can be. Sometimes we stress over the future and what it holds. Sometimes dwell too much on the past. There are good and bad things on either side of the present, but all in all, we’re doing just fine. This move has been good for us. Good for our marriage, good for our perseverance, good for our faith and good for our lives. I’ve thought it and mentioned it in passing. Now it’s time to say it out loud—we’re doing alright.