I am a traveler.
I am many things, but the majority of the things that I am and that I do and that I love all circle back to traveling. I love art, and art is better when collected from far away, or painted from a photograph taken abroad. I love food, and that is better enjoyed in say, Paris. Or Santiago. I love languages, and speak a few besides English, and those facilitate traveling in a way that doesn’t even need explanation.
I was an Air Force officer. I became one because I wanted to travel. I know I’m supposed to say something like love of country or serving others, and there certainly was that as well as career aspirations, but the love of travel was the foundation of that decision. I wanted to go places.
I am a wife, and I married well. I am married to a pilot, who is perhaps even more of a traveler than I am, though that is a difficult thing to measure. He is an extraordinary man whom I adore, for many reasons, not the least of which is that he attempts to put up with me. Which over this past year has been even more challenging than usual. Again I will say that I married well.
I am a mother. I have two children, though I did not have children because I love to travel; if anything, children can potentially put a bit of a damper on global wanderings, at least for a little while. Unless of course you start training them early. My daughter flew for the first time at two weeks old, and my son went to Norway with us when he was 18 months old. And he’s about to solo as a pilot at 14 years of age.
I am a woman of faith. I don’t know how I’d have survived my travels, literal and figurative, without that piece. Without that peace.
Especially since, this past year, I lost my mother to breast cancer. Which has really, really, messed up my navigational abilities.
So currently, you see, I am on a journey of recalibration. Figuring out how to navigate life with one of the major North Stars no longer visible in my sky. Figuring out how to be a daughter without a mother. Figuring out how to be a mother to my own daughter without my mom to cheer me on, or cheering me on in anything else, for that matter. It’s a tough journey, but traveling often is difficult. Sometimes traveling just plain sucks and is inconvenient and you end up where you don’t want to be and you have to figure out how to get back to where you DO want to be and then sometimes, well, there is just no way back. And what do you do when the place you want to be doesn’t even EXIST anymore, for crying out loud?
And so, like a lost traveler, I am having to figure out a way to make this new place work for me. Adjust expectations. Recalibrate.
Pray a lot.
But tough journeys also teach you about who you really are; they let you know what you can survive. They teach you that North Stars never really go away, they just get clouded over sometimes. I guess I’m waiting, right now, for the clouds to clear.
I know that someday they will.