Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anywhere But Here

This time last year I was cruising in the Caribbean during a hurricane. It took me nearly three weeks before I could even pretend to walk straight, my equilibrium was so off. And yet? I find myself wishing myself back onto a boat during hurricane season.

I'm sure it is due in no small part to the fact that my brother and sister in law spent last week in the Caribbean. I'm equally sure I'm green....and it isn't due to sea sickness.

I know, I know, get out your violins.

In fact, the last two years have been really good for us. We've traveled more since 2009 flipped to 2010 than we did the entirety of our lives up to that point. And yet, today I found myself thinking, "Anywhere but here."

Over the last few days I've told my husband several locations I'd like to be. And in sequential order:

Disney World, where we rang in 2010
Kauai, June 2010
Grand Cayman via a Caribbean cruise we took with several of our friends, September 2010.
Israel, March 2011
 Yeah, I'd even like to go here:
Kansas City, Chateau Avalon, May 2011

 Or here (though the drive? not so much):
Alabama (photo taken in Metropolis, Illinois on our way) July 2011

  But immediately after my thought of "Anywhere but here," a vivid picture popped into my mind. It was of a woman with a child strapped on her body, carrying a huge jug across parched lands., searching for water. I can't find the photo, because I can't find the blog I saw it on, but this one will serve to make my point. (It was stolen from here.)

Horn of Africa, Drought, 2011
 And it became very clear to me: Though I am ACHING to be in Ethiopia right now and I'm transferring that want-to-travel energy into fantasies of beaches and Mickey Mouse, and Anywhere But Here, I realize that here
Kansas prairie, 2011

doing fun stuff like this
Grandma's back porch, Princess turning 10, June 2011

isn't all bad.In fact, it's pretty dang good.

It's at this point I feel like I should put in a disclaimer. It goes a little something like this: We didn't pay for most of this. We stayed in other people's timeshares, we cruised during hurricaine season on a cheap boat, we drove, we Mennonited our way around, we saved for Israel for three years.

BUT the fact remains that even doing it cheap, it was pretty extravagant, and I feel more than a little guilty that there are people starving while I have a pity party for myself that I'm not sitting on a beach right now with a cabana boy named Brent bringing me unlimited Pepsi.

We've seen a lot and I have a lot to for which I should be thankful. If I'm going to spend money on myself, it WILL be on travel. If it means that every item of clothing I ever wear comes off a clearance rack and we only eat what's on sale. We are EATING and CLOTHED. If I shop last minute deals on cruises and I am always gobbling up people's almost-ready-to-expire timeshares, I'm seeing the world, and I don't regret it.

But odds are, the only traveling I'll be doing for the next several years will be back and forth between here and Ethiopia, which will be AWESOME, but it won't be cabana boys and beaches. And I think the truth of that is beginning to set in. I'm a beach girl and I live in Kansas for crying out loud. And no, stinky lake water does NOT even compare. 

But today, I'm going to be grateful that there is a stinky lake nearby with plenty of water, that my kids are complaining about the leftovers, because they have something to eat. And I'm going to go to bed hungry because eating after 10 makes you fat, but in the morning, food will be waiting. Can you imagine that mother with the water jug worrying about getting/being fat?

Life is good. Share a little of the goodness.

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