A younger friend of mine is going to Japan. She was talking to me about it Monday night. She really wanted to go, but only a few things were standing in her way: money and her job. Her job is now waiting for her when she returns, and she has found the money to travel. The excitement she shared with me brought me back to my own trip to Asia.
I was a little older than she is now when I was given my own opportunity to study abroad for 3 weeks. I could choose between Beijing and London. I was leaning towards London, ready to sign up for that class when my friend Heather, in all her flaky logic says “You speak English. You can go to London any time. Come with me to China.” And so I did. I remember my mom and dad thinking I was crazy (more of Mom’s thoughts than Dad’s). I remember that I had just met my future husband and now was planning to leave for almost a month, which to the mind of the newly in-love felt like an eternity. I remember being petrified to step on the plane, fly across the world, and enjoy a trip entirely by myself. No parents, no sister, no boyfriend, this trip was by myself (and those signed up for the course with me). Despite my fears, I embraced the freedom. I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food.
Now I am on a mission. My mission is to see every state in the U.S. because then my husband will travel with me to Europe. We only have Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii left. Then I will make it to other continents besides my own. Meanwhile I will live vicariously through her trip to Japan and enjoy all the pictures she brings back.