Depart: 7:05 PM April 1; Cincinnati, OH, US
Arrive: 9:10 AM April 2; London Gatwick, UK
There it is; I am going. I have just booked my first international flight. By the time I reach Bonny England, I will have been outside of the borders of the United States for as long as I ever have been in my life. My. Whole. Life.
It only took me eight years to get around to using my passport. Most proto-novice world travelers I’ve spent time around have commented that the whole magnitude of what they were doing “did not seem real” to them until very shortly before they embarked. Well, for myself it is definitely the opposite: I could taste this in my mouth ever since I read my first picture book about Switzerland when I was seven. Travel had my heart and mind.
New people and places were one of my most deeply abiding interests. I wanted to go everywhere, meet everyone, see the whole of this rock and bring back the knowledge that it undoubtedly held. Then, I discovered architecture. This intensified my desire to a fever pitch. I wanted to go! Be! Experience! To gain insight into the cultures and edifices that have defined history, in order to see outside of my own narrow experience and the homogenizing culture within which we americans are all raised.
But over the years, something always denied me. Cancelling travel partners, bad advice, missed deadlines, and money money money. Always something, usually money. It was “unfair”, it was unfortunate, it was agony. It was the source of a horrible inferiority complex about myself, my upbringing, my social status, my talents and abilities, my work ethic, anything I could find. Every fiber of my mind was twisted the tiniest bit in rage at the stories I heard complaining about not being able to find a decent burger, saying “We do this every year,” saying that X city was “Okay,” or that they were skipping a week of school to go snowboarding in the Alps, or that their parents made them go back to Hong Kong for Christmas break, etcetera.
It tore me apart.
But a wheel has been set in motion. I’m sure the universe will try to throw it’s bona fide best at me now to deny me this, but I’m fucking ready. Did you hear me? I’ve got money on the line here, World. “No” will not be an answer. I am going to have a great fucking time and see family and old friends in a completely different universe than I’ve ever been – or seen them in – before.
Sure, there won’t be any disappearing into the Atlas or Caucasus and somehow stumbling back into the Industrialized World in two or three years with some good stories (and hopefully all my teeth and limbs) this time – I have a job to lose before I can do that. But let this be a roaring first step. England won’t know what happened to it.
I’ve had this coming as long as I can remember, even if it ends in horror, it had to be. And you know what the sweetest part is? I’ve worked my ass off for every penny I just spent. This is MY trip, and I’ll be doing it by MY rules. And if anyone wants to share part of it, contact me. If you are going to resent this, get the fuck out of the way. Because I worked for this, and for once I’ll be territorial about something: my right to do this and to eat up every bit of life the place has to offer. I won’t just be casual or aloof about this. This means a hell of a lot to me.