Chances are, this snowy second day of spring in Maine has got you dreaming of warmer climes. Maybe you’re imagining yourself on a white, sandy beach with a fruity drink in hand, watching the waves roll in. Or, if you’re not so much a summer person, but still an anywhere-but-here person, perhaps you are pondering what it would be like to visit the ruins of Greece or the green, rolling fields of Ireland or the pastoral peace of the Italian countryside. Or, if you’re like me, you want to be in all of those places at once.
Let’s kick off the week with my next Word of the Day:
Wanderlust – noun: a strong desire to travel.
In protest of today’s very winter-like spring weather, I made an appointment to get my passport. If all goes according to plan, I will be booking a trip to the Virgin Islands within the next couple days. Except for a few quick jaunts over the border into Canada, I’ve never been out of the country. Heck, I’ve never even flown before. There has always been this restlessness in me, the need to be somewhere other than where I am. But because of financial/logistical concerns, I’ve never been able to do anything about my wanderlust, save for my treks throughout Maine and New England.
Growing up in Ashland – a tiny, nothing-ever-happens town in The County – I didn’t get many opportunities to travel. Both my parents worked hard to provide my sister and me with everything we could need or want, but travel was never a priority. We took our annual summer vacation down to the Elliotsville area, where our family has a camp, but other than that, we stayed in Ashland. I never thought anything of this until I was in sixth grade, when all the classes in our grade school put out displays of where their families had gone on vacation. My peers had visited places like Six Flags, Storyland, Disney World. Until hearing of all those other places, I was mighty proud of my pictures of the gigantic water spiders on the dock of our camp. (And I still am, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade those summer days at Greenwood Pond for anything.) I suppose that was when my wanderlust truly set in for the first time, when I realized there was a world beyond what I saw in our little town, a world I’d only read about in books.
That may have been the first time I realized that one must occasionally climb out of the pages of books and truly experience all the world has to offer. It’s not enough to see the world through the eyes of your beloved characters. You must get out there and explore it for yourself – even if it’s a little scary. And for a small-town, financially-challenged, anxious-ball-of-energy girl like me, it is a bit intimidating. Imagining the craziness of JFK airport and the possible panic-attack I may experience once I am on a plane for the first time (not to mention the angst I’m sure to experience once I actually book the trip and say goodbye to all that hard-earned dough) makes me slightly nauseous.
But if I can ignore that feeling like I might throw up and/or weep, what I feel most of all is excited. No, that word isn’t strong enough… More like exhilarated. Euphoric. Invigorated. All I can think about is snorkeling in warm Caribbean water, the feel of sand between my toes, the taste of fresh island fruits, the hot sun beating down on me. I cannot wait to pack my bag and fly away to somewhere new, somewhere I’ve previously only imagined. And I cannot wait to see what experiences I will have there – experiences that will go into shaping my own character, that will bloom into stories that I will then put into words and share with you.
On this snowy March morning, all I can do is dream. For today, dream with me. Satiate your wanderlust with a cup of coffee and a good book – and let the words take you away to a different place, a different world from the one outside your window.
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And, for a sample of my fiction writing, follow the link to read my original short story, “Lost and Found,” recently published by the Hawaii Pacific Review: https://hawaiipacificreview.org/2015/12/10/lost-and-found/