When I was 16, I traveled to Great Britain for several weeks with three friends. Not something you would EVER suspect if you knew my mom. She was as protective as she was giving and the thought of letting her only child travel to another country, without adult supervision, was highly unlikely.
Initially, when I asked if I could go on this trip, she said something to the effect of, “Yes, if you’re able to pull it all together.” The World Wide Web had not yet been made available to the public and she knew that 4 teenagers, stood no chance of planning such a trip. Not only were there flights to consider, but youth hostels to be booked and transportation to be orchestrated in between. Given my massive aversion to phones, I imagine she was feeling pretty confident that we’d remain stateside.
Much to her dismay, the arrangements were made, in record time - entirely due to Celeste’s and Heather’s amazing mom, whose organizational skills far exceeded my own. My dad reasoned that after giving one answer it would be unfair to do a swift about-face.
In what was to become known as ‘The greatest miracle of the 80’s,’ my mom consented and 4 kids crossed the pond a few months later.
It was a life altering trip, as one might expect. It shaped how I would later see the world and others in it. Somehow the world becomes smaller when you travel, just the opposite of what I had anticipated. It was no longer ‘them’ – people from other countries and ‘us’ – people from America, but ‘we’ – all of us. Their struggles and concerns became mine and my heart overflowed with love for everyone, not just those with similar backgrounds to my own.
During the trip, I kept a journal of sorts. There were unforgettable moments hourly and I wanted a way to ensure I would never forget this amazing adventure. In packing for our move to England last year, I came across the journal and opened it with great anticipation.
There are times in life where you look back at something you did or said and are utterly amazed. You stand in awe of your brilliance, in total disbelief that such wisdom came from you.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. It was positively horrifying. As I read, there was no escaping my immaturity or my inability to write sentences that even held my own interest. What it did possess was a surprising amount of details that I had completed forgotten…or had remembered entirely incorrectly.
It’s one thing to write in a journal that remains hidden away in a box, but entirely another to put your thoughts and experiences on the internet for all to see. The idea of putting so much out there seems a bit like going to the pool for the first time after having a baby. All your bits and pieces are out there on display for everyone to see but they aren’t exactly where you would want them. You’re a work in progress and you’re beyond grateful for where you are…even if you still have further to go. At the end of the day, no matter what you look like, you’re still glad you went (or in this case…wrote) - for the memories, and to celebrate the journey.
We’ve been here a short time, but already so many details are being forgotten. Before others slip away, I’ve decided to give these fingers a bit of exercise.