Sometimes when I have to venture into the lobby area of the ridiculously extravagant hotel where I work (and I mean 'ridiculous' literally...seriously friends, you should see it. It's beautiful, but come on! Are you serious? If you can afford to stay here, well... actually, can you buy me lunch?) Anyway, when I have to go either into the lobby or one of our restaurants, I get vacation on the brain. There are always so many sunglasses-toting vacationers strolling around... flip flops on, visors on their heads, pastel-colored polo shirts on their backs and loud conversations about getting an impromptu bowl of ice cream spilling into my ears. JEALOUSY!
For one, It makes me miss my family. After all, what is vacation if not a family retreat? My parents, sister Jen, brother Joey and I went to Myrtle Beach every summer ever since I can remember, and I LOVED those trips. No internet; just lots of family euchre games, napping on the sand, watching the waves, and delivery pizza.
But secondly, it makes me miss that overwhelming feeling I always get when I'm seeing something I didn't expect. Whether it's water that stretches beyond my line of sight or snow-capped mountains in August, can't you just feel that feeling in your stomach when you're standing in front of something you've never seen before? And you realize - this is here! Every day!
If I had enough money to never work again, I'd spend my waking life traveling. And it's going to sound silly, but I have a real heaviness on my heart sometimes (insert: today) over the fact that I'm so, well, grounded right now.
The ironic thing is that I'm a girl who loves a routine, tends to hate change and gets homesick after 48 hours away. But I just can't help the restlessness I feel almost daily over the weird idea that in my lifetime, I'm going to see probably a relatively small percentage of the world. Isn't that weird, truly?
I knew I was going to have one of these days this morning when I sat down in between shower and blowdryer, took a sip of my daily glass of cranberry juice, opened my laptop, and almost unconsciously avoided the usual facebook perusing and when straight to a Google image search. The Aegean Sea. Sri Lanka. Brazil. Alaska.
Then, the second I got to work, I went to the Starwood Web site for employee discounts and started browsing the rather remarkable list of allllllll of the Starwood hotels in the world. Bali!! Phuket!! A CASTLE in Mallorca!! Israel, St. Maarten, Zimbabwe, my beloved Guayaquil. Italy! ITALY.
I just really want to see what God has done with the place, you know? And the HISTORY that's out there - can you imagine seeing the Parthenon? Can you imagine it? I can feel it in my stomach. I bet I'd get light-headed if I saw it. Then I'd write ten million pages in my journal about all the things I could imagine that happened there, once upon a gajillion years ago.
Sometimes, though, I have to TRY take a step back and relax. We are truly having an adventure out here in Arizona, even if we haven't left the state almost since we moved here. I have to try to remind myself that one day, if Aar and I can truly save the money we'd like to, I will get to take some pretty awesome trips.
And on the days when I truly feel mournful that I, up to now, have not chosen a life of wandering, or staying in hostels and owning not more than two shirts at a time (met a woman in Ecuador who had been doing this for over 20 years), I try to remind myself that being labeled a 'traveler' is not the most important diamond-in-the-rough that I should be after. There's a lyric in one of Nichole Nordeman's songs that I keep going back to. It's from her song "Legacy" -about wanting to be the best version of Jesus that we can be - no matter what that looks like for us personally - and nothing else. She sings:
Not 'well-traveled,' not 'well-read'
Not 'well-to-do' or 'well-bred'
I just want to hear instead
'Well done, good and faithful one.'
And so I hope I can calm my anxiety over my stagnancy. And I'll try to just concentrate on being the version of Jesus that He wants me to be, right here in Scottsdale, for now. (Hey! blog name! ;)
I'll leave you with my Top Ten list of places/things to see. Created a few years ago:
2. Thailand (mainly: Koh Phi Phi - have been obsessed with it since high school)
3. Egypt (pyramids!! Can you imagine?)
5. the Sudan (relating more to wanting to help than wanting to see)
6. Easter Island (the face statues!!!! Every time I see a picture of them I let out a great, big, "WHAT?!?!?!")
9. the Redwood trees in northern CA (hoping to knock this one out during our stint out here in AZ ;)
10. the Amazon rain forest - CHECK! (See below: summer of '08! At the Pastaza River in Ecuador. I have never, ever, EVER, seen so many stars in my life.)
I want to leave you with this photo, too. I found it during my world-traveling via Google this morning. This is a place called Tierra del Fuego - I had to research it because Bill O'Reilly said he went there on vacation last week. ;) I can see where it gets its name (which translates to "Land on Fire".) It's at the very southern tip of Argentina...it may have to become number 11 on my list...PLEASE AARON!? ;)