Fun fact: I’ve always wanted to go to Kathmandu.
Sad fact: Round trip ticket from Chicago costs about $1500. I would know, I check it almost once in two weeks.
Even when I was a little girl, I have always had the itch to leave. An away meet for swimming was basically Christmas to my soul, even when I was 10. I was the kid who just did not want to go the same park everyday. I slept the best in the car or (as my parents tell me) in my tiny stroller. Growing up, Starbucks was my favorite place to get coffee from because Turkish culture did not really appreciate the “to-go” concept as much as I did. Even today baristas at Lemonjello’s still tease me for having my “regular” to-go all the time; one of them even joked around today about how it makes him sad that I never stay.
Maybe it is a little sad that I drool on travel magazines when I’m home and crave some kind of settlement, or rather commitment, while I’m abroad. Time to time it is heartbreaking, of course, but then there is that healing effect of standing in the middle of Kasbah of the Udayas in Rabat and marveling at a wall that has been wounded by many cultures, yet managed to embraced experience elegantly. Some call this feeling as wanderlust; I call it urge for an inner pilgrimage through an geographical journey. It is, indeed, perhaps my only way of stripping away the pretense of temporal values since I find comfort in the childish thoughts like there is something more to my life than the physical and mental state I am at right now. There is something that makes me feel good about life, when I mimic the imperfections of other people I don’t even speak the same language with and still be accepted by this world. There is something heavy, yet freeing about carrying “home” in heart and a bag on back.
It is difficult to keep that effortless “wanderess” spirit, as Roman Payne so lovingly puts it, especially when you are a woman and are constantly doing a self- check to make sure you will make it to your wedding on time, which tends to be designated and decided by society and social constructs. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this post to this woman, who is a Hope College alumna, whom I consider very inspiring; Katy Carlston. She graduated in December 2013 with a biology degree and a minor in studio art. Katy got hired by the college to explore the college’s connections around the world as she blogs her experiences and captures them with her camera. In her blog categories there is Palestine, Rwanda, Thailand, South Africa and even Argentina. Her archives date back until February 2014 and I think that’s when she actually started traveling. It seems that Katy still has a long ways to go since she is also planning on visiting Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam; maybe if she has time, New Zealand and Australia.
Want to know more? Follow her blog: https://blogs.hope.edu/roundtheworld/
And keep up with her traveling schedule: https://blogs.hope.edu/roundtheworld/about-this-trip/
Keep in mind that she wants to meet other alum along the way, so if you know anyone around the areas she will be in, contact her or the director of alumni and parent relations!
Most importantly celebrate and encourage her adventure by sharing her blog. Be grateful that women like her do exist as they lead the way for us, the women who are in limbo between doing the socially- expected or creating self- designated expectations.
Don’t be haunted by the idea that you are wasting your life by traveling; don’t forget you need to get a little lost to find yourself.