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Have a Little Faith in Me

I've wanted to travel for as long as I can remember. I was the three year old who ran out the front door at 6 am, before my parents could catch me,in bare feet, looking for adventure on the suburban streets of our neighborhood. I was the seven year old with a backpack slung over my shoulder, announcing to my mother that if she didn't change the destination of our plane tickets from Norton, Kansas to Adelaide, Bangkok, or Helsinki, I would go to the farmers market and run away with the gypsies. I was the thirteen year old who wanted to drop out of school, buy a VW Bus, and go touring the country with an indie-punk rock band I didn't happen to have. Instead I had to settle for the inconsistent family trips to Bodega Bay. To this day I don't believe I will ever return there; the seagulls, sand, and fish got painfully monotonous after a while.

I'm not going to lie, I'd do anything to get out into the real world earlier than planned. I would drop out of school if I wasn't homeschooled, I would quit my less than fulfilling job, bribe my older brother with all the money I have, and buy us both a way out of here. I would even "forget" my own personal safety for two seconds, get into a car of someone I just met five minutes ago, and be taken away to who knows where. It is stupid, I know. All the scenarios I've got playing around in my head are childishly stupid, and signify a major flaw in my personality, my impatience. But I swear, I am not stupid.
I am not nearly as stupid as they would like me to be (if I were, then they might have a legitimate reason to try and keep me "safe" at home). Impatient, rash, and desperate, but not stupid. If I were to get into a car with a stranger I'd make sure to have a can of pepper spray in one pocket and a survival knife in the other. Alright, I'm kidding. But only just.

There's a lot of reasons I could give for wanting to travel, but in all honesty the things that draw me to it the most besides the complete freedom I would have, are the stories I hope I come back with. When I was really young I used to listen to my grandmother tell me about her job at a preschool and Christmases in a house with too many people and no offense granny, but didn't you do anything exciting in your life? Not that I ever said that, but I certainly thought it.

I am highly aware my motives are grossly selfish, but the way I justify that is by telling myself (and other people) that I will have given my family 18 years of respect, and if they cannot respect me then I'd appreciate it if they could, at the very least, respect my decisions.

I want to travel so I can look back fondly on my youth, rather than cringing with regrets and bitter memories. I want to travel so I can learn what they don't teach you in school and so I'll have stories to tell my friends and my children and my grandchildren, if I live to be that old. I want to travel for the excitement and the spontaneity and maybe a new understanding of the world that is all around me.

Now, my mother, is most appalled at what I know she considers a very dumb choice. I want to travel the country and quite possibly every continent (except Antarctica, because barren ice landscapes have never been my thing) with hardly any money and even less experience. I'll admit, it doesn't sound very promising does it?
She's tried to give me something to stay for, but it hasn't worked. What I'm looking for I can only find if I leave the nest. She'll need me to help my little sister with algebra once she begins homeschool. She'll still need a daycare assistant who will work for cheap. She knows I have the potential to get into a good college and if I stayed at home she'd help pay for it. She'd be happier if I waited until I was older.

I stopped responding to these statements long ago. Now I just shake my head, smirk, turn up my music, and revise the list of Stuff I Plan on Taking that resides in my head. She sounds like a broken record after a while, and it gets annoying, but I guess I understand where she's coming from. If I were a mother I'd hate for one of my babies to set out full of hope and ambition, then wind up dead. I get that. I really do. But I'd like her to stop questioning me. I'd like her to stop pricking at me with not-all-too-kind comments about the validity of my dreams. Most of all though, I'd like her to stop thinking I'm going to get myself killed, and instead have a little bit of faith in me. Because I think that kind of reassurance is all I'll need to keep myself safe.



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