In my adult life, I find myself constantly terrified of the “S” word – settling. As a kid, you are constantly stimulated with little adventures mostly of your own making. Strangely a lot of them involve spying on people and then documenting things you see in Lisa Frank notebooks. Every tiny thing holds a sense of wonder and interest and possibility, then you grow up and that feeling numbs out a bit. Actually, a lot of feelings do that. It’s hard to capture that super intense feeling of the first time you had a feeling. It has taken me a while to realize that adventuring doesn’t go away, it might just require bigger picture adventures and usage of vacation time in order to get the job done. It’s important to your creative mind as well as your heart to transport yourself to another world regularly, no matter where the rest of your life is – whether that be tied up in a clean and pretty bow or in complete disarray. Mine probably falls somewhere in the middle.
Although I’d like to think that I would plan adventures alone, it helps to find a few good travel buddies, and a good travel buddy is harder to find than one would think. One of the most bittersweet moments after my dad passed away was finding out that he had left my mom money exclusively to travel with, a beautiful gift, yet she wouldn’t be able to spend that time with him. The two of us spent almost two weeks together traveling Italy and the south of France, I enjoyed my mom in a way I never had before. We sipped limoncello in Anacapri, laughed hysterically down cobblestone streets in Florence, and jumped into pockets of ocean in all our clothes.
A few years later, I would spend a week in Iceland with my boyfriend. It wouldn’t be our first adventure together, our first had been 5 days of hiking through the mountains in Arizona. No shower and finding your own water six months into a new relationship is hardly romantic, but it was memorable and bonding. Iceland was journeying through another world of unknown territories. We were astronauts and voyagers in our tiny red car exploring freezing cold waterfalls and tundras; hours of driving to nowhere and everywhere; black sand beaches with fresh fish and never enough layers; delicious tap water and an icy air that hit you so deep we couldn’t take enough steaming baths.
In two weeks we leave for maybe our loftiest trip yet, driving the entire west coast squeezed into 11 days. Portland to Tijuana – start artisanal, end weird. I live for the hardships of travel as much as the sweet spots, and there are usually many of each. The thrill of “do we have enough gas in the car to make it?” to “do you think they’ll murder us?” to “I love this,” and “I can’t wait to start planning another.” Playlists are key. The best thing ever is going home and replaying songs to replay memories. Keep that Goonie heart of yours going, keep that kid inside you happy and joyous. Take maps, write things down, take so many pictures, then don’t take any pictures at all.
Never stop adventuring, and you’ll never feel settled. You only ever really grow up in your heart if you stop growing.