A John Hughes Existence

When I was younger, I always imagined I would go to exotic places and have the typically atypical life of a jet-setter – a few days in Paris, a week in Berlin, perhaps even a trip on the Orient Express. These dreams were fueled by my imagination which was colored by the novels and movies I would wrap myself in. Not once did I think it wasn’t possible and not once did I ever stop to think that these worlds that I would dream myself a part of were the result of someone else’s fantasy.

My first trip overseas

High school for me was a script straight from John Hughes, complete with the minor trials and tribulations that seem to rock a teenager’s world. My boyfriend’s mom didn’t like me, I was perceived as a goody two-shoes and I felt as if the world itself was conspiring against me to keep me from my true potential. I was so full of shit.

(And I probably still am…)

I joined the Army before I graduated high school because my Dad and I had a heart-to-heart. I told him I wasn’t interested in going to college, he told me I should be interested in paying rent. That option was not appealing AT ALL so I began to look at options that would not require a rent payment. The Army recruiter told me the best stories ( fabrications ) that played to my desires and “Private Benjamin” and “Stripes” were a couple of my favorite movies so I signed up – convinced I’d be pulling the best Bill Murry ever while calling cadence. Needless to say, Basic Training did not live up to those expectations. BUT joining the Army was the best thing I ever did for myself. “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera comes to mind when I think of my time in the Army.

(You’re humming it to yourself right now aren’t you?)

My PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course) pic

The Army sent me to new, exciting places like Maastricht, The Netherlands and Seoul, South Korea. They also sent me to the arm pit of the U.S., Ft. Hood, Texas. But wherever I was stationed, I made the best friends. Friends that I am still in contact with today and who I know, should I call them out of the blue and tell them I need help, they would be right there – no questions asked. 

In 1991 my world changed drastically (in a good way) with the appearance of my daughter, followed 2 years later by my son. As expected, my dreams and goals changed and travel took on a smaller role in our life. I’d still take little trips but this time it was to wherever we could get to in the car. My DNA Thieves love to tell the story of the little trip we took to Virginia Beach – during hurricane Floyd. All because I just had to get away for a little bit and Virginia Beach was within a tank of gas from where we were living in Virginia.

What was the point of this, anyway? I seem to have lost my focus…ooooo, shiny…

Getting back on point. My kids are grown with their own lives now. I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but without the drain on my bank account that raising children can be, I find myself with more opportunities to travel. So I live the cautious jet-setter life I imagined when I was younger. I save and squirrel away money for my next trip. I keep my passport on me at all times, just in case, and I read everything I can about how to travel inexpensively without sacrificing the experience. I have two trips coming up this fall and I am working on my next “big” one – Greenland.

Sometimes I still think I’m living a John Hughes script. Only instead of the conflicted 16 year old, I’m playing a confident 50 year old woman who just doesn’t wait for tomorrow.

The Austrian border - when there were checkpoints

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