It would probably surprise many people to know that my biggest dream used to be to become a photographer for National Geographic. I’m a really shit photographer, lots of animals scare me, and I decided early on in my Communications studies that I could never be a photojournalist because I don’t have the ability to emotionally remove myself from situations and take photos of grief, violence, etc. I think the reason I was so drawn to this career was because in my mind travel and National Geographic were one. I wanted to have a job where I HAD to go to countries spread across the globe to take pictures of their beauty and culture. I can’t remember when I figured out that I liked writing. It can’t have been from my emo poetry that I wrote in high school. Knowing what I know now, I must have liked writing and reading so much because it was an escape. Travel was the ultimate escape. I’m constantly trying to escape…something. Be it reality or stagnation, I don’t know. But I do know that as soon as I flipped through the glossy pictures of lions in the Sahara, I wanted to get the hell out of America.
Wanderlust. I love that word. It’s become pretty cliche these days, being used in every blog and travel site. I still find it beautiful though. Lusting to wander. A desire to be somewhere new and unknown. I live in a permanent state of wanderlust. Every weekend, I have plans to do something, somewhere. I love digging through the internet for cafes, restaurants, and weird activities. Even when I’m not crossing borders, I like to be discovering something unusual. Living in the same small Korean town for almost two years has left me gasping for breath a few times, as if I was hyperventilating from being confined in a small space. Yet somehow I still find new things to do here and I even just discovered a beautiful trail behind my house that led to the most stunning overlook of my town I’d seen. I love Korea and it has become my home, but the people I love here are leaving, moving, and disappearing from my life. I could stay, move to a city, and make new friends. I’ve considered it because the life here is good, but if I stay it will just be a hollow re-run of what I used to have. It’s time to leave this home to try and find another.
I applied to teach in Spain back in winter and was supposed to hear something by the end of April. No emails. I felt rejected, but not dejected. I started up as soon as I confirmed to myself that Spain wasn’t happening and planned away. Perhaps teach in Turkey? How about Taiwan or Thailand? My flight was already booked to Sweden for a two week reunion, so no matter what, Europe was in the cards. I decided I wanted to be reckless and travel Europe for months, then go teach in Taiwan where the money and weather was good. Then, an email from Spain. Notices of employment will be received at the end of May. Still a chance. As of now, I have no idea what I am going to do. If I get into Spain, I don’t even know for certain if I will accept. When I traveled Southeast Asia, I met so many people who were traveling for months, going to and from places when it pleased them. As someone who has spent most of their life on an itinerary, the idea of going around Europe, visiting old friends, doing odd jobs, and living out of a backpack for six months sounds SO SCARY and perfect. I love being scared by things. That is how I know it’s something I should do.
I told my friend Mary, who lives in Spain and is a part of the program I applied for, that I wasn’t so sure on Spain at the moment and gave her my whirlwind of ideas.
“You fickle gypsy”.