A few months ago, I received a Friendster message from a college friend asking how I'm doing. It's been at least a good seven years since I lived next door to her in the freshman hall of my college. Needless to say, it was quite a pleasant surprise hearing from her. She's a very sweet girl — bright-eyed and roseate about tackling the big city life having travelled from her humble town in Maine. We weren't exactly the best of friends as we had very little in common but circumstances had it that we spent some nights together, along with a bunch of other friends, getting wasted out of our minds and sharing woes about life and… what else, boys!
Life had a lot in store for her after graduation. She's married now, living in Colorado, with the perfect house and two precious dogs. Whilst reading her emails to me about her wonderful life, I felt this gnawing feeling creep up my throat. I felt that familiar feeling of the green-eyed monster gripping tightly against my esophagus keeping the oxygen from running through the rest of my body.
I laughed to myself as soon as I realized what was happening. I envied her because her life seemed so settled and certain — something I've always dreamed of having one of these days. I looked at myself in the mirror and only found fleeting decisions (and indecisions) and uncertainties staring right back at me. I was a far cry from an ideal life of settledness.
However, if today I were given the chance to step into her shoes and live the quintessential life surrounded by white picket fences, I probably can't say no fast enough. Even though I yearn for certainty and a direction in my life, I realized that perhaps they arrive in different pockets in our lifetime. The universe decided that it was already her time to settle down whilst I was awarded with more time to figure myself out better and to view the wonders of this world. I'm not prepared to give all those up. Not yet.
I have lived in three different countries and have travelled to various countries in at least four continents — and I still haven't found a good reason why I should stop. Perhaps I never will. My life may fit in a couple of suitcases with nothing else to show for, but it doesn't mean that my life is any less fulfilled or meaningful than anyone else's. I used to feel inferior towards friends and acquaintances who are so sure about how they want their lives to turn out and which directions they would like to take. Whereas I… I have but a tiny inkling with a faint voice in my head chanting over and over where I should be.
I still dream of living in Europe to make a dent on my life in this global village. I still wish to run with the wild life in Africa, and dance the flamenco in a beautiful swirly dress in Latin America. And maybe sit down on a wooden bench chugging down delicious beer in Denmark the night before I flee for Turkey for some more delights. I still want to ride an elephant in India and to dance the hula in Hawaii next to a flaring bonfire. I'd still like to scale the height of the pyramids in Egypt and go skiing inside the dome in Dubai. I may need to borrow a few more lives from God if I want to get through all these colorful experiences that span the globe.
I have three more continents to visit and a few hundred more countries too choose from on where I'd like to park my suitcases while painting their towns red. Why must I choose one when I can have them all? Maybe one day I will, but not now. I'm far too busy enjoying being the mistress of this world — having an affair with all my great travels. After all, I have the rest of my life to settle down.
I follow what my favorite Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said: “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
I bask on the glory of finding a destination.