Here I stand – on the cusp of a great change in my life.
My lungs, tired as I gasp for air, force me to take a moment and catch my breath. My muscles ache under the strain of pushing myself too hard, yet my heart aches with the pain of not moving fast enough. I have waited, patiently on my better days, for my dreams to be under my feet on this upward climb. My heart yearns for the feeling of wind tugging at my clothes like a child wanting to play. The wind that can only be found at the top of a mountain. I have climbed, and I have crawled up this mountain – and sometimes I have clutched the face of it with white knuckles screaming to the sky, “I quit!” Then I remember that the climb up the mountain is vital to the view, and that the view is worth the climb. So I put on my strength like well-worn shoes, and place one step in front of the other. As I see the mountain leveling at its peak, my hope rises like the clouds.
For years I’ve felt that life has merely been the climb and never the view.
In society it’s a well-accepted concept that fulfilled dreams are the natural progression of hard work. You work hard, therefore you get your dreams.
And I get it, life can be really hard. Like – really hard. But good heavens, I feel like I’ve been elbowing life in the ribs to try and get ahead. I just want to see a glimmer of my dreams come true! Cut me some slack, life!
But right when I want to give up, life can change.
After years upon years of wanting to travel, I have in possession My 3 Tickets to Adventure.
1. My Bachelor’s Degree
After I graduated from three years at a Bible college, I had the most outlandish dream to go work on a cruise ship. I was desperate – with a capital D – to get the heck out of America and see the world. Preferably, I wanted to be the celebrated and shining star of their nightly productions, but I would’ve swabbed the poop deck if it meant a ticket to Central America.
My carried-away dreams, however, did not last long.
Did you know that you have to commit to working on a cruise for 6-12 months? And you’re only in a US port for a few hours each week to run errands before you sail off again?
Yeah, that level of commitment was not matching my level of whim. So that was gonna be a no.
Plus on top of that, I regretfully knew that if I didn’t go straight back into school for my bachelor’s, I never would. So off I went, head cast down in a fever of rejected wanderlust, to Dallas Baptist University.
Looking back – good grief – I’m so glad I didn’t sail off into my delusional sunset with the Royal Caribbean. Don’t get me wrong, it would’ve been a blast … until the work part set in. No, I’m glad I didn’t go because graduating magna cum laude with my bachelor’s was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment. I felt like I finally closed a door in my academic life, and I was ready to open a new door.
2. My Ticket to London
Once college released its sharp talons of tests and grades out of my life, I felt free to start turning my travel wishes into reality. I’ve always had a desire to see Europe – probably stemming from my fascination with Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown and my elementary school obsession with Passport to Paris with Mary-Kate and Ashley.
After scouring the internet, I settled on an Australian based tour company called Topdeck. I signed myself up for a 27-day / 7 country adventure in the south of Europe. I’ll go more in-depth about why I chose this tour, and what I learned from all the others in a later post.
3. My Passport
Let’s just discuss for a second how I am a 23-year-old and have never been outside of the US. Like… nothin’. No quick tamale runs across the Mexican border, no visits to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. Nothin’. So because of this, I was passport-less. Oh! That beautiful navy book, how I yearned for it! So once my travel plans started getting closer, I practically ran to the post office to get mine. When it came in the mail just last week, I squealed with excitement as I tore open the letter. I was official. I was legit, man. I was a passport carrying, travel ready US citizen.
Sometimes it feels like life is absolutely, 100% out to destroy you and your happy dreams. The sun, the wind, and the rocks are all conspiring against you in your climb up the mountain. It’s only when you reach the top that you realize it was all worth it.
If you didn’t climb so high, you wouldn’t see as far.
So don’t let each step get you down. It will be worth it in the end. And when I watch the clouds drift by out the window of the plane bound for London, I’ll remember that the view was worth the climb.
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