It's Monday afternoon, and I'm sipping iced coffee out of a mason jar while curling up on my bed as the air conditioner blasts cool air around me. I arrived at the Newark Airport at 5:25 this morning, and was home by 6:45 a.m., after flying back from a business trip in San Diego. Prior to the five days I spent in California, I was in Atlanta for another business meeting (which literally was a 24 hour turn around event) and had a few days at home to unpack and repack my suitcase. As evidenced from my absence here on this blog, I have been struggling with this whole balancing the job, traveling, and writing thing I'm aiming to achieve. I always swear that I'll set time aside to work on my own creative ventures while traveling throughout all these cities across the country, but time constantly seems to slip away from me. Now I'm back in Brooklyn for a week before leaving for Maine, where I'll be celebrating the 4th of July with a close group of friends. Following that, it's Connecticut in July and California in August. As I tell people how much I travel with my job (or just in general), and how often I've moved in New York, I'm sure some may wonder if I have a fear of staying in one place for too long (which might be true) but in all honesty, I've always had a traveler's heart and an adventurer's soul.
Growing up as an only child in a somewhat rural area in Northern California, I found it very easy to entertain myself in the field behind our house. I would spend hours by the creek, playing with my imaginary friends (and sometimes my real friends would join me), along with venturing up to the cave on the hillside (which is about three feet tall, five feet deep, and covered with graffiti). I was never afraid of any reptiles, rodents, or insects, so I would come home to my parents with a snake or lizard in my hand, claiming it was my new pet. (The lizard catching phase stopped as soon as I actually pulled the tail off one.) This independent streak continued as I got older, and when I was twelve I decided I wanted to go to a real camp (not one of those day camps I had become accustom to attending). Even though I didn't know anyone, my parents dropped me off at this camp in the woods, where I spent a little over a week going on hikes, making paper-mâché masks, eating s'mores, telling ghost stories, and performing skits in front of people. I was the oldest kid at camp, and became closer friends with the counselors than some of my cabin mates.
When college came around, my parents dropped me off (yet again) in Southern California, where I didn't have a car and knew only one girl from my high school that was also going there. I almost moved back home my freshman year because I was so unhappy and depressed, but made a pact that I would try one more semester, and if I hated it, I would transfer to another college. I ended up staying there for four and half years, and even spent a summer in Prague after receiving a scholarship for a play I wrote. I went there, again not knowing a single soul, and ended up celebrating my 22nd birthday in a bar with all these people I had only met two weeks before, and who had become some of my closest friends. Following graduation, I then moved to Connecticut for an amazing internship at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. I moved there on December 31st and celebrated the New Year with my boss and his wife in a pub, surrounded my strangers (most of which became my friends throughout the year I spent there).
Please note, this is a very (very!) abridged version of my twenty-five (almost twenty-six) years of adventuring. I know I'm leaving out a large number of other moments, but these are the bare bones that have made me the person I am today. I've been thinking a lot about this recently, especially as I continue to travel and watch large changes happening for various people in my life. Some of my friends are starting college or grad school in the fall, others are moving to Singapore to work at Universal Studios, and others are still struggling to make it work in NYC. All of which are giant (huge, enormous, tremonsterous - not a real word) leaps for each of them, and all of which are their own adventures to follow through. And it amazes me how far some of us will go to follow our passions, our dreams.
I've always had this inclination to explore the world, to soak it all in, to capture everything either through my words or photographs, and I find myself taken aback that this is actually the life I am leading now. While it does get rather lonely spending so many nights in a hotel room by myself, and frustrating to deal with the TSA on a somewhat monthly basis, all this traveling provides me with so many life experiences and stories (which I'll include in my autobiography someday). Now, don't get me wrong, while I am so appreciative to all that surrounds me, there are moments (as I mentioned earlier) where I struggle to find the balance between my creative work and the work that actually pays me (sad as that may be). There are moments where I feel like I've sold myself out, where I've become a person working in a cubicle, just getting by with what I have - but that is not the case at all.
While in Atlanta, I found myself at this bar (okay, I looked it up on Yelp and took a cab there, I didn't just stumble in). It was called The Book House Pub (of course). So on my night off I brought my Moleskin journal with me, ordered some shrimp and grits with a bourbon beer, sat at the bar, and wrote ten pages of a new play. As I was looking back on this earlier today, it hit me. Despite having a very adult job and living in a very adult world (and dealing with adult situations that I don't want to deal with) I realized that I really haven't grown up at all. I'm still the young girl going off by herself, occupying her time with her imaginary friends, following her dreams of seeing the world. It might not necessarily be on my terms some of the times, but how much of life actually is?
I started writing this blog six hours ago. In between I have had a meeting for work, watched an episode of LOST, went on a run, did some yoga, bought groceries, and cooked dinner. I'm not sure if this writing will make perfect sense to those reading it (but mind you I also didn't sleep for 24 hours and got home at 6:30 this morning). I guess what I'm trying to get at is that it's never to late to jump, or to take that leap. There's an adventurer in all of us, and that's probably the kid version of ourselves that we sometimes try to push back, but really should just embrace.
There's a whole universe out there. Don't hold yourself back from exploring it.
Oh, and if you want to know what bliss is, give yourself a moment and sit on the edge of the beach in Southern California with In-N-Out (or whatever food makes you insanely happy). There's a helpful travel tip from yours truly.