I am supposed to be working right now, but god help me, there are things that must be written about.
When I was fourteen years old — or it may have been ten, I cannot remember. Anything past last Monday is ancient history — my sister proposed her plan for the world. It was simple: we do away with countries and all these ‘artificial borders’ as she called it, and we all live in peace and harmony. (She may have left the peace and harmony bit out, but I like the picture I am building of her.) Countries are stupid, she said. Lines were unnecessary. We are all one. Now, I was wise at fourteen (/ten). I knew such a thing was impossible. There were flags to love, freedom histories to learn, a sense of identity to feel connected to. And, of course, the very obvious fact that we didn’t make as much money as America. Oh, no. Such a thing was ridiculous — the UN would collapse, power struggles would disintegrate, presidents would be at loss, people would be anchorless (crazy, I tell you, crazy) and the economies that ran the world would disappear and plunge us all into chaos. Of course it wasn’t possible. I wrinkled my nose, made some suitably cutting comment — as the practical one in the family must — and turned the page on my book.
Years later, my maturity has grown into idealism and foolishness, and I wish desperately to travel the world — see what cultures have to offer, how people think, act and believe across the world, not to mention the buildings, the art, the adventure. Having finally landed a job that will give me both the money and the freedom to do so, I have made the most beautiful, most ambitious, most glorious plan of travel ever conceived. This may be hyperbole (aided by the large glass of red wine I am now drinking), but it is important enough that such a plan was/is glorious, ambitious and beautiful to me. Four and a half months of friends, art, love, culture, family and all that is soul inspiring in nature. Such a thing has not been conceived in my 22-year-old life — it was beginning of a new age, and a new me.
Except, you know — I have to get the visas.
You cannot believe the legal requirements and red tape that can surround travel if you’re not doing it conventionally (and I cannot afford to). No, honestly — if you are European, American, or British, you cannot imagine. I have spent weeks filling out forms, getting documents together, worrying about processing times, and if I am allowed to get a visa at all. I have spent hours researching the Internet, desperate for some nugget of hope regarding a clause in the visa rule that — turns out! — does not apply to me at all. And right now, a world without borders is looking pretty damn good to me.
When I began this blog, I promised myself that I would only write about the things that strike wonder in my heart; the memories that remind me that this is kind of life I want to lead. A trail of breadcrumbs, so to speak, connecting the past to future (and not leading you home, as Hansel and Gretel so desperately needed). The only excuse I can offer for this post is that my fourteen year old or ten year old (or eight, or twelve, or twenty one year old) self would never have imagined me saying, on a public forum (albeit slightly drunk) that yes, indeed, my sister was right. Drunk or not, that is a thing of wonder in itself.