Keeping up with my thoughts makes me feel a bit like that Wile E. character

This has little to do with my travels and adventures, and more to do with…everything else.

I’m processing thoughts, because sometimes you just have to get it all out there and look at it as a whole piece instead of the shrapnel swirling around your brain.

I rounded the 6-month mark whilst in Thailand, and now that I’m on the downhill slope towards the end of my contract, I’ve begun wondering where I’ll end up next.

It’s like I’m graduating all over again. Ugh.

And as per usual, I change my mind about every 5 minutes.

[Some of] The Options

Australia work visas are really easy.  Ridiculously so.  The qualifications for U.S. citizens are a high school diploma and…I think that’s it.  Oh, and money for a plane ticket.

Spain just lifted their requirements to possess an E.U. passport for employment–or something.  And I’d love to stop saying, “Well, I studied Spanish for 5 years so…I can read it for the most part, and understand a little, and ask ‘Please pass the butter.'”

Germany is, well, Germany.  A decent chunk of me is German, so learning German/living in Germany appeals to me for that reason.

France is GORGEOUS.  And I’d love to learn French.

Basically, the world is mine to adventure through.

Oh, and the only man in Hollywood I’ve ever found attractive, Heath Ledger, was Australian.  So there’s also that.

But here’s the thingthe thing.  The thing is.

I’m in love. And I don’t know what to do about it.  I think it’s all just tied into me being a bit of a dreamer, a lover of fairy tales, and someone who more often sees puppies and rainbows rather than the realities that make life a little more drab.  Oops.

And the object of my love can’t move with me to Spain, or Portugal (just threw that in there–Portugal would be cool! Let me add that to my list…), or Germany, or New Zealand (did I not mention that before? *sigh*–see how scattered I am?), or anywhere else.

Because it’s a city.  A city that isn’t amazingly special to everybody, and I can’t really say why it tugs so strongly at my heart.

But I have dreams.  That’s how I roll.  That’s how I get from one day to the next.  I dream.

I can’t put my dreams into words–sorry.  I’m not so good at explaining things.  But basically, I want to build and create and develop and encourage and pursue and build build build.  I want to build.

I want to build better lives for teen and single mothers, and their children.

And I want it to be in Pittsburgh.

Sometimes I wonder, if this city didn’t already hold so many people who I love so dearly, would it hold the same draw?

I’ve always been more of a people-person than a places-person.

I don’t know, and I don’t really care.

Getting Here

I almost didn’t come to South Korea.  Because I’m the worst with commitment.  Seriously.  The worst EVER.  There were so many times during the summer I was ridiculously close to just walking away from it all.  The deeper I get into something, the more people get excited for me and push me towards my goal, the more I rebel.  That’s not really new though–isn’t human nature to do the opposite of what we’re told?  I’m not very original.

Anyways, with that being said, I really couldn’t tell you for sure where I’ll end up on the other side of six months.

Knowing me, it’ll be somewhere I’ve never even considered.  August will come along and I’ll pack my bags for Copenhagen.  Or Poland.  Or Sacramento.  Or not go anywhere at all, and just hole up in the SK.

But if I don’t talk to anybody about it, if I don’t ask anybody for advice, if I just put on my blinders and walk forward and do what I want to do and go where I want to go, then it’ll work out alright.

At the end of the day, life isn’t so much about the places you go.  It’s about the people you go those places with.

I remember, in college, I had the opportunity to go to Greece for a semester.  I eventually decided against it because of the place I was in in terms of ministry and relationships, I just felt I couldn’t leave.

And you know what?  I bet Greece is beautiful.  I bet I would have loved it.  I bet I would have met lovely people.

But do I regret not going?  Not one little bit.  Because the relationships I stayed behind for are more valuable to me.

In my post-grad job at a cancer center, I read an article on women who live with breast cancer.  One quote, which I’ll paraphrase, stuck with me:

“Most people, when you ask them what they would do if they found out they had six months to live, say they would travel the world. But when you’re in this situation, where you don’t know how much time you have left, all you want is to be surrounded by the people you love as much as possible.”

Getting There

I think the biggest thing in all of this is, I have a deep-set fear of losing my freedom and independence, and of being “tied down.”

As international travel has the biggest aura of unbridled free movement possible, that’s the main draw of living internationally.

I recently finally broke free of feeling “held back.”

As Joanna pointed out, it’s not like moving home means you’re “stuck” and can’t go places.

The mountains of Colorado are a $300 plane ticket away, and an email to the aunt and uncle to ask for a place to stay.

My most recent dream is to road trip through Canada–because really, in the U.S., you grow up just seeing Canada as a non-country, a waste of space, and a fantasy world that just kind of floats between here and Alaska.  But honestly people, it’s as sprawling as the U.S., and I’m sure has just as beautiful scenery.  I’ve road-tripped the U.S., so might as well get more of North America under my belt!

Also, say I move home, and get restless again, well then, move again!  Or just spend a few weeks climbing some mountains somewhere.

Life takes you places, and I need to stop being afraid of getting “stuck” somewhere.

One Last Thing

In Thailand, I realized if I had a month in that country, it wouldn’t be enough.  Two months in New Zealand wouldn’t do it justice.  Three months in Australia might begin to scratch the surface.

In terms of travel, nothing will ever be enough.  The more I travel, the more I want to travel.  It’s a bit insatiable.  It’s like the more you stretch your stomach the more food you can fit in it.  Or something.

Loving people is the same way for me.  There are literally not enough people in my life to love as much as I want to.  I know that sounds airy and out-there, but I warned you–I’m a dreamer.  Part of the package.

And if there’s an appetite I want to spend my life trying to satisfy, it’s the latter.

So we’ll see where that takes me.


11 responses

  1. Rachel,
    The picture at the bottom of the post could not have been more fitting. That little boy, looking into the water, you can just imagine what he is dreaming about on the bottom of the sea.

  2. I think when I get out of high school I should take a gap-year and we should travel together! Let’s plan that, okay? Because I wanna see the world and I’m really jealous of your adventures. OH!! time we Skype remind me to tell you about my Senior picture idea 😀 It’s BRILLIANT!!! ❤

  3. “Knowing me, it’ll be somewhere I’ve never even considered” …spoken like a true dreamer… and there’s nothin’ wrong that.
    Almost one year ago to the day I made my decision to pursue teaching in Korea, and before then, the thought of going to South Korea was literally non-existant. Same goes for the two years I lived and bounced between Spain & Portugal… places a dreamer such as yourself MUST experience with time to spare. The idea of studying and working there just kind of conjured itself out of thin air and then everything fell into my lap with absolute perfect timing… God ordained I believe.
    To come to think of it, your thoughts are super analogous to my own. Us dreamers have it tough sometimes as our lives are never idle; there’s always something to experience, somewhere to travel, someone to help… someone to love.

      • Well, add me to the list of people who thinks very similarly to Rachel and Paul. I’m a huge dreamer, and I wear my emotions and feelings on my sleeve at all times. I can’t wait to go on some hikes with you guys, or sit around chatting over dinner in Korea. I really enjoy how open and honest you are Rachel. It’s refreshing. I think it’s great that you have so many ideas or options of places to go for next yr. I think a key is mobility.

        As for regrets, I regret very, very few decisions I’ve made in my life, but the #1 was that I passed up the chance to stay in Denmark for an entire summer (I was there for a 3 week trip in late Spring). I went home to take the secure summer job that paid great, and be with my friends in my hometown. I’m sure I had a fun summer, but those friends are still there, and I missed a chance to experience something very special.

        Anyway, sorry for the long post. Great blog post.

  4. It’s kind of weird to read this, as a Canadian! Not many people travel here. It’s a smaller, aging population so there’s maybe not as much excitement, but it’s just gorgeous. Funny to see you say ‘just as beautiful scenery’… Around here, America is usually considered to be lacking in that department whereas it’s something we’re proud of. Although that might have something to do with the fact that I live right across the border from Washington. I’m not sure which parts of the US are the more scenic ones, heh.

    There’s so much culture in Canada, too. Speaking from my post in BC – lots of immigrants, plus a strong Aboriginal presence (Native Canadians) so you see Aboriginal art everywhere, Chinese night markets, Diwali celebrations, etc. Also, we have really cool money. Each bill is a different colour and the $5 bill depicts a scene from the book The Hockey Sweater.

    • it’s funny, i’ve got a west-coast-road-trip planned for september, and i’m hoping there’s time in there to dip across the border and visit vancouver. i wish our money was different colors–pretty sure most currencies around the world i’ve seen have different colors, we’re so behind the style line.

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