December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
I loved to stay awake late at night when I was a little girl and look up at the sky through the crack at the bottom of my weird, vinyl roll-up shade and think about the wonderful world out there and what was in store for me. And I’d sleep fitfully after that peeping, terrified I’d miss something.
I am generally still terrified I’m going to miss something.
My daddy was a banker when I was little, and his specialty was Asia, and he’d come back from places with names I couldn’t pronounce and I knew that I wanted my grown up life to be just like his life. So.
When I was in Kindergarten, he’d just gone off to Guangzhou, China and Hong Kong, UK (because that’s what it technically was back then), and he’d returned with a pair of beautiful, cerulean silk pyjamas for me. Not the kind one wears to bed, mind you, but the kind that one finds gentlemen wearing on vases featured in the Met.
(I suppose the preceding paragraph should tell you quite a lot about my life in the 1980s, and how that all foreshadowed the woman I would become, i.e.,
1) I had THAT kind of father
2) I idolize(d) my father
3) I was THAT kind of schoolchild
Now, having clarified all of that…)
As a child, I used to say that I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up. And my mother would retort that I would miss “this” and that I shouldn’t wish “it” away.
Girlfriend was dead wrong. Now that I’ve been an adult for some time, I can securely say that the growing-up part was absolutely awful, and being grown is absolutely where it is AT.
All of this said, little red-haired, silk-pyjama’d Meredith Ann always knew that the world was a big, mysterious, beautiful place. And so when Mums and Dad sent me to Europe at 16, largely unsupervised, this only confirmed things. And one day, canoeing under la Pont du Gare, with a sackful of sandwiches from the local hypermarche, and a couple of girlfriends in tow, and then suddenly coming under siege by a troupe of frog-throwing German boys (who I now understand thought we were French), my mind was just blown with the beauty and the experience of something so simple.
It was a moment. And I realized then, at 16, that the the wonder, really, is in the moments. The smacked-in-the-face-with-a-damned-frog-moments.
I have been to some glorious, humbling, amazing places in this world. I have driven across the United States three times; been in nearly all 50 states; have traveled to dozens of countries. I truly love to travel.
And I love a good adventure — I think it’s a trait I inherited from my father. Indeed, when I look at my father’s side of the family, I realize we are a wanderlusting people — missionaries; expats; roadwarriors.
I have traveled quite a bit this year — though perhaps not as much as last. And my travel hope for next is to continue to honor the family tradition. To take the chances; to plan the trips; to get on the planes. And to willingly and joyfully accept the great adventures that life throws at me.