It’s my birthday today, and I’m feeling a bit sentimental. If it’s any day where I can get away with a bit of longing for simpler, more innocent times, it’d be today, so I had Melissa dig up some old photos from our mini-round the world summer and scan them in for a quick post. I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since I first strapped on a backpack and hit the road: Melissa and I cut off all our hair for easy travel and were excited beyond belief by our EuroRail passes, passport and money holders, and of course, the backpacks. We threw those things on for a quick photo-op here, in Miami, before heading to the airport in May, 1999. Our friends told us we wouldn’t last a week. When Melissa threw a bit of a fit halfway over the Atlantic, I feared they were right. But we ended up having that life-changing trip that people write novels about. We enjoyed every single minute (even the bad ones!), because our independent souls loved the freedom.
March 19, 1999 (my 23rd birthday): “Happy traveling this summer!”
My mom gave me a travel journal for my birthday, and I used it to cover every single day of my trip, technically an RTW (round the world)-type, long-term adventure, although we had never heard that term. Man I wish I still kept a journal. I did for many, many years — it was my month in Borneo two years ago when I looked at my empty notebook on the way home and knew I was a lost cause. Luckily, I soon started a blog!
May 22, 1999, Melissa and I went looking for some friends we were supposed to meet up with. We had no iPhones, iPads, nothing. Just a hotmail account we could check in Internet cafes. I later wrote, “We got a little lost, but we figured they’d wait. Instead of a small group of blond American girls, we found hundreds of drunk Brits cheering around a huge fountain filled with naked soccer fans. Bad loss?”
As a dear friend whose birthday also happens to be today just told me: “Let the games begin.”
We spent a good chunk of time in Spain, where I studied abroad in college, and Portugal, and we went as far southeast as Greece and all the way up north to Stockholm. We flew by the seat of our pants, changing plans on a whim, following our hearts. We got lost, spent the night in places we thought were other places, jumped on boats that took us twice as long as needed to get someplace…
It was heaven!
As I wrote last week, I went to a shaman recently who was adamant about reconnecting with my younger, more carefree self, and I made a pact at the beginning of the year to make happiness a priority in 2012, to throw out all preconceived notions of what my life should be like. Through all the ups and down of my life, I always vow to be free to make my own choices. This year, I am doing what I love, in a city that I love, and traveling whenever I possibly can. I haven’t dwelled on anything, I have fun, I seek adventure.
I often hide from the attention that comes on my birthday, but this year, I am giving myself the love I deserve.
Happy birthday to me! And may I continue to have an exciting life filled with adventure…
Who’s with me?
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