Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Lately, I just want to go. Someplace. Anyplace. Just get up and get on a plane or in a car or on a boat and travel and explore and just go do something, see something, experience something.

And I'm lying when I say lately. It's been like years that I've been bitten with this bug of wanting to get up and go.

It hit me hard in New Zealand. Because when you're living in a random foreign country, you want to see all of it. Because when you're slightly uncomfortable in your new surroundings, why not just go for it? Drive hours in any direction, eat in off the beaten path cafes, see things that you wouldn't see anywhere else. And goodness, does it help when your little angel is just as excited as you are to experience everything life has to offer. And living on an oversized island for a year, we constantly felt the urge to run away. So we took further trips, plane rides to the South Island, Australia, Fiji, even back to America. Because being transient makes one feel the need to be even more transient, I guess.

And as we tried to settle back into Charlottesville life, we were still bitten with the get-up-and-go-bug. I was constantly trying to go anywhere, ready to go explore whatever there was at any moment.

And now, living in New York City, we feel probably the most displaced -as this new lifestyle is by far the most different that we've lived as a young family - and wow do I just want to leave. Not to escape New York - we are settled in now for our year and there are parts to this life that I love. But it's more like - I really want to take the opportunity at every chance I get to just leave - vacation - holiday - escape.

Apparently we're not the only people to ever feel this way, because there's actually a word for it: wanderlust. And I actually didn't even know what it meant, besides reading a Danielle Steel book by that name a number of years back. But I ran across the word today and looked it up and - voila:

Wanderlust: a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

I think I've caught that bug. Seriously.

It helps (hurts?) that I love researching travel. Like, obsessively. It may appear that I travel a good bit - (we went to Atlanta and Disney World in June; Atlanta and Jamaica in September; Disney World and New Orleans in October; and Atlanta for both Thanksgiving and Christmas - plus I went to Charlottesville for work and Jon went to Canada, California, DC, and St Louis for work) - but for each actual vacation there are like 37 that I've thoroughly researched and planned out as options. Like, when Jon and I went to Jamaica a couple months ago I also had Bermuda, Vegas, Canada, Napa Valley, St. Lucia, and Ireland on the back-burner. And I could easily give you price quotes off the top of my head for current airfares to 20 cities, plus costs for every Disney Cruise and Disney hotel. And a day doesn't go by without me checking prices on a potential trip to Italy. (Because if the cost goes down perhaps I could maybe, potentially, afford it? And Lulu would SO love the pasta...) I can't help it. It just makes me happy. Or something.

And travel is one of the things I supposedly gave up when I gave up my job in November. Like, we have savings but we're not dipping in there, and we have a budget for regular life: so there isn't random travel money that we can spend at the moment. And yet the urge to go somewhere, do something, is stronger than ever.

Maybe it's because we're into January and we don't know where we're moving in less than 6 months; although that should be resolved in the next few weeks. Maybe it's because we're in New York for just more 6 months and haven't planted roots and aren't planning to at this point, so I just want to do something memorable with my year. Maybe it's because it's winter and I just really want to migrate to warmer weather like the birds. Maybe it is in fact because Lilly is such a great little traveler that I want to make the most of every single experience in life. Lord, if I acted upon "she's only this age once" every time, I would so be broke.

And it doesn't help at all that Lilly, in her extreme Mamma Mia phase, loves having a "moment" with me (yes she calls it a "moment" too - not just my words) - when Slipping Through My Fingers comes on. We hold each other and sing to each other and of course I cry and Lilly does her best Meryl Streep impersonation:
"Sleep in our eyes
Her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake
I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone
There's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt
I can't deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well some of that we did
But most we didn't
And why I just don't know

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from
the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers..."

I kid you not: when Lilly and I watched that part of the movie last year, especially right before her heart surgery, it was 100% responsible for me booking the Disney Cruise last winter...

Anyway, the point is: life is short. We're such nomads, not staying in the same place for more than a year at a time. We don't know where we'll be in 6 months. Lilly is growing way too fast.

What is my point? A random post about the random urge to travel? Not entirely. Because this is Lilly's World, this is actually about her. My little four year old so has wonderlust too.

We arrived home from Atlanta on Friday. By Saturday, I was already itching to think about our next vacation, what could we possibly plan. And on Sunday night, it hit Lilly too. We were watching video clips on youtube, as we occasionally do (mostly Broadway) but I had wandered over to a couple videos of Disney rides and rollar coasters. And as my girl sat and watched Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain rides (which she hasn't been on yet - she's just about tall enough now though!) and It's a Small World and Buzz Lightyear and Goofy's Barnstormer - she suddenly put her arm in the air and exclaimed: "Me!" and jumped up, ran to Jon, said, "C'mon!" and put on her coat and hat, grabbed her purse (of course) and walked out the door. Dude, my girl is ready to go.

We convinced her to come back inside - yes, Lilly, we will go back to Disney World for sure - but not tonight!

And then... the next day... she woke up and said "Airplane! Me?" Sorry Lilly, no airplane today, just school. For now.
I remember when we first heard the possible diagnosis of Down syndrome when Lulu was just 3 months along in my belly, and not knowing any real information about what it truly meant - limits, possibilities, etc, and my very first thought about Lilly's future was this: That's ok. When Lilly grows up, we can just travel together. She'll be my little companion. A random thought, not knowing what my tiny baby would be like when she grew up - but turns out, my belly heard me and decided to start young.

Maybe, once we move for the (hopefully) last time this summer, and settle in, and start our "real" lives, we won't feel such an urge to go someplace. Or maybe it's just who we are.

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