Four-time Tenx9 storyteller Nichole Perkins shares a lovely 5-minute story on missing opportunities for international travel.
During Freshman Week, my first week of college, I fell in love at first sight. He was tall, with hair like Sideshow Bob, and stood behind the DJ table, controlling the room with music. After we became a couple, we’d argue over what he was wearing that day. I’d say it was a hockey jersey with his astrological sign on it. (It was the mid-90s. Fashion was… interesting). I don’t remember what he thought he was wearing. His memory isn’t important because I know I was right.
Our relationship lasted my entire 4 years of college. I’d walk by posters proclaiming opportunities to travel abroad, but I was too afraid to sign up. I’d think “what if he misses me? What if he doesn’t miss me? What if…” When he had the chance to travel to Aruba for something similar to Semester at Sea, well… He sent me a postcard. His mom called him then she called me, and he and I talked over three-way, trying to send PG-rated, coded messages so his mom wouldn’t know how much we missed each other.
And he did miss me. And when our 4 years ended, he had stamps on his passport, pictures of his bronzed skin, and I had “someday.”
Graduation. A new job, but international travel is so expensive. Plus I don’t want to go alone. I could go with my best friend, but aren’t you supposed to share beaches and red wine and decadent foods with someone you trade nightly snuggles with?
And now a new boyfriend. He doesn’t like labels, even though he has his own toothbrush next to mine and a special section of my refrigerator for his food. Maybe he’d like to take a trip with me to a place where the language sounds like “omigod keep talking.” But no. That seems like too much of a commitment, and then he was gone, too, but there was “someday,” still sitting on my shelf.
I moved across country but still here. Still America. Then a new boyfriend who barely wanted to do more than dinner and a movie on Friday night. Best friends suggested trips but I wanted romance, not girl time. I couldn’t see that friendship remained while romance faded.
Another new job. Passports are how much? It’ll take how long to get it back? Well… someday, yes?
Depression. Go back home. Wouldn’t it be great to get away? Everyone’s married now. Everyone’s a mom now. Everyone travels only where their jobs send them now. Still… someday…
And here I am. All those old loves I was afraid to leave—only a Facebook click away! All the money I was afraid to spend—stuck on my hips. All the friendships I was afraid to prioritize—still here. Still here.
Where would I be without fear? Would I be in the south of France, baguette crumbs accessorizing my smile? In Morocco, colors of every jewel populating my everyday? Would I still be stateside, but free of regret?
Who’s to say? I’ve looked back so much, you can pinch my cheek to season your fries.
I’m here now, a stamp-free passport in my purse.
Step one: Complete
Step two: in progress…
Someday is happening now.