19 August 2013
6,000 words later…my travel writing portfolio is complete. FREEDOM!
That day was a long time ago. Yet I still remember the magnificent collection of butterflies in that little clear box. It was from Samoa. My grandmother had brought it back with her when she returned home from teaching there. My father always told me stories about his mission in Brazil, and I loved the little wooden box decorated with butterflies inset in stone that he had brought from there. It wasn’t my fascination with butterflies that drew me in, it was the idea that these objects were exotic. As a little girl those places were unreachable. I was barely 3 feet tall, and those places were miles away. The only closeness that I felt to them was the fact that they were only inches away on a map.
Those experiences, as my little fingers brushed the outside of those two boxes, changed something in me. Looking back now, I can see that those were what led me to realize that I wanted to experience the wild things. I day-dreamed of traveling to faraway lands and meeting people who were different from me. Jungles ridden with jaguars, hyenas, and boa constrictors filled my nighttime dreams. Watching The Lion King, The Jungle Book, Anastasia, Pocahontas, and other Disney movies were my sweet release, the closest thing I knew to exotic. Wanting to see what else was out there kept my fascination running for years on end. As I grew up my desire to see only increased, and I became more and more anxious to feel all those much-talked- about sensations of travel.
I am still growing up and those dreams still fill my mind. It seems unnatural not to want to explore what else is out there. My bucket list is miles long with adventures from the near to the far and the sane to the insane. It is my list of dreams, it is my list of Wild Things. I have rafted the raging waters of Hells Canyon, walked along the cliffs edge in Cinque Terre, and slept a night in a train station while backpacking Europe. Many of my wild things have come to pass, but many still lie somewhere in my future. Swimming the coast of the Galapagos Islands, hiking Machu Pichu, and riding the Trans-Siberian Railway from St. Petersburg to Beijing, are a few still left on that list.
As I find myself in a new place, as un-adventuresome as it may be made out to be, I discover that there are wild things everywhere. Even in the landlocked little city of Cambridge I have been able to uncover a vast array of these little gems: polar plunging into the Cam in the early hours of the morning, climbing to the top of St. John’s Tower, and sneaking through the trees in the midst of a midnight storm have been a few. As I continue to “grow up” and begin to close the distance between my childhood dreams and my reality, I find these wild things all around me, both satisfying and fueling my hunger for more. There’s still so much to see.