I'll give you one guess as to where I am right now. Juuuust one.
If you guessed "drunk in a bar somewhere" I'll give you points anyway bc that probably would have been my guess too, but no. I'm in my SECOND most frequented gathering place: the airport. Airports are the best because I get to take part in two of my favorite activities: blogging and people watching. It's one of the prime locations for both. It's great for blogging bc if I'm in an airport, I'm either coming back to or going somewhere, and considering this is a travel blog.. yeah, you get it. In regards to people watching, this is the cream of the crop. There are so many different types of people that visit an airport on any given day with a myriad of reasons for being here and moods to be in and places to get to or from, how could it not be entertaining? Next time you're in an airport, take a moment and look around. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
As for me, I am the image of the seasoned traveler: comfortable clothes perfect for lounging when my flight is invariably and undoubtedly delayed bc that's how my life works, a reuseable water bottle on the table next to me - downed before I hit security at astonishing speeds achieved as a direct result of years of practice chugging beers at college tailgates so that I could refill it in my terminal, my Mary Poppins purse (it doesn't look that big but I could pack just about anything in there), headphones plugged into my phone blasting my "Travel" playlist which ranges between everything from German rap to Spanish reggaeton to Kendrick Lamar to George Strait, a power pack for when all that music-listening drains my phone battery, my handy dandy (incredibly light weight) laptop, and a cheap cup of airport coffee bc I am a sucker for some pre-ground, noticeably burnt, poorly brewed coffee. What can I say, airports are my cup of tea. Or coffee. Whatever.
As anyone who reads all my words on a regular basis knows, I leave in a week. Juuust one. As in seven days. I would tell you the number hours, but that would involve me getting out my calculator bc I don't believe in mental math, and that's a level of effort I'm just really unwilling to exert at this juncture. As I think about everything that I have to accomplish in the coming week, I am feeling more and more grateful for the past week and a half of relaxing with my grandparents and extended family. What do I need to get done in the coming week, you might ask? Oh nothing much. Buy travel insurance, pack my whole life into two duffel bags, say goodbye to my friends and family, contact my credit card and cell phone companies to inform them of my travel plans, make visits to the doctor and the dentist to make sure everything is in check before I head out, sell my truck, have an existential crisis, you know, normal stuff. Am I ready? No. Am I nervous? Maybe. Am I doing it anyway? Absolutely. I've heard the words "You're so brave, I could never do that" in response to my itinerary more times than I can count at this point. I mean I get it, my plans for the coming year aren't exactly average. 11 countries in 10 months is a lot, I know that. But the only thing about it that I might consider "brave" is the part where there's a good chance I'll run out of money and end up working the streets of Indonesia, and that's not so much brave as stupid. The idea of traveling to new countries and experiencing new cultures and learning new perspectives shouldn't be scary, it should be exciting and encouraged. *Financial stability should also be encouraged but obviously I missed that memo. Maybe the bravery comes in with regards to the risk I'm taking not getting all the recommended vaccinations? The fact that I don't know the native tongue in most of the countries I'm visiting? The idea that I, an American, am willing to travel the world in such a charged political and social climate while the imbecile in charge of my country (and his wretched administration) wreaks havoc on both our foreign and domestic affairs and relationships? Well for one, I don't plan to befriend any stray dogs (unless they're really cute), so my risk of getting rabies is relatively low. For another, I speak two of the most widely spoken languages and one of the most powerful languages in the world, I plan to learn the basics of every country I'm visiting, and I've gotten REALLY good at charades, so I'm not too worried about the second point. And lastly, I make every effort to show the people I come in contact with that the Trump administration does not represent the America I know, and that there is still a vast and outspoken majority that celebrates diversity and believes in equal human rights for all (as if there should be any opposition to that mindset???). The more I think about it, maybe people just think it's brave that I'm effectively jumping from a cliff with no knowledge of what lay at the bottom. But if that's what they mean, then I think everything that people my age are doing is brave. See, we have this idea as kids that with age comes understanding. When we're young, we think that 16 is the big number. Your pimples clear up (still waiting) and you're not awkward around whatever gender you're attracted to (still awkward) and you know how to handle yourself in social situations (still fakin' it till I make it). At 16, you can drive, and driving means freedom, right? Wrong. At 16, if you're fortunate enough to get a car, it comes with limitations on where you can go and who you can take with you. You imagine yourself driving off into the sunset as soon as the fateful birthday comes around, but what usually happens is more along the lines of being back HOME by sunset bc your parents don't want you driving in the dark yet. That's when you realize you've had it wrong this whole time. 16 isn't important at all, and it's certainly nothing like in the movies. It's 18 that matters. Silly you, don't you know that you magically cross into the folds of adulthood when you turn 18? You know what you want to do with your life, you have the answers to all the questions you've been wondering about, you miraculously have money to do all the cool things adults do, you can VOTE, and more importantly you can buy things like porno mags and cigarettes (just because). But that's not how it works at all. I mean, yeah, you can totally vote, and you can 100% buy those magazines, but the rest of it? Yeah right. You can't even buy cigs at 18 anymore, it's 21 in California now (which is awesome). But seriously, none of that happens. You are decidedly not an adult, in fact more often than not you haven't even graduated high school. You THINK you have the answers to some of those age-old questions you've been trying to figure out, and you feel like that minimum wage job you got at the local Panera has you rollin' in dough. But nothing really changes. You don't wake up on your 18th birthday and feel particularly adulty. You feel gipped, because the only real difference between today and yesterday is that now when you do dumb sh*t and get arrested, you get tried as an adult. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo. So you graduate high school and start on your path, whether it be college or a vocational apprenticeship or immediately into the work force to become a productive member of society. That's when you start to get excited for your 21st birthday. You can't believe you were so foolish to think that 18 was the end-all-be-all. You were just a child, what did you know? No, 21 is the age. Everything will fall into place when you turn 21. You'll know how to pay your taxes, buy a house, change the oil on your car, find a life partner, write a check, create and stick to a budget, obtain a big kid job, and you'll even be able to actually post all those drunk pictures on your phone to social media from when you were in college and not quite of the legal drinking age. Yeaaaaah, no. I turned 21 the last semester of my senior year in the middle of my college town with even less of an idea of what I wanted to do than I had when I was 18. There's something to be said for the fact that the more you know, the more you realize how much you don't. Seriously, like I know I'm intelligent and all but in the grand scheme of things, my life experience and education are still so limited by things like time and exposure and interest and opportunity. So as I've gotten older, I've come to the conclusion that life is, among other things, open to interpretation. To give you an example, my mom, her mom, and myself can all cook the same recipe and it will turn out completely differently. My grandma doesn't follow recipes on principle (and good thing too bc she makes everything better with her improv). Mom can take any recipe and make it simultaneously healthier and tastier. Me? I'm still on the follow-the-recipe game. I'm 22 years old and while I know my way around the kitchen, I haven't found my own personal cooking style yet. I can't be like mom and grandma whirling through the kitchen tossing in "a pinch" of this or "a bit" of that, because I haven't figured it all out yet. I like to think that one day I will, but this idea that there is some mythical age where you wake up with your sh*t together.. it's crap. And I refuse to continue to set quantifiable numbers as notches on the yardstick of life, bc it just doesn't make sense. In short, I call bullsh*t. So now I don't wait in excited anticipation of any particular age. I just enjoy right now. 22 has been good to me. I've been able to spend time with my family and friends, I've traveled, I've gained work experience, and I've met some incredible people. 23 is looking pretty amazing too, but you won't catch me asking for it to hurry up and get here. In fact, 23 can take its sweet time, I've got everywhere to be and all the time in the world to get there.
But for now, the pilot is announcing our descent and Ky is probably already here to pick me up bc he actually knows how to get places on time (weird, I know).
So until next time, my lovely readers, in a post that will inevitably start with me waiting to board a plane off into the wild blue yonder...
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)