SmartAssy

Posts Tagged ‘Traveling’

All About That Wanderlust

In Just for Fun on June 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Right now, I’m in the beginning stages of planning a road trip to Canada with my boyfriend, Jared, for later this summer. We are thinking three stops: Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal. I’m excited to revel in the delightful campiness of Niagara (and, sure, the natural wonder, too), experience Toronto without the frostbite because my parents had a strict 20 below rule for visits there, and unpack what is left of my high school French amongst the Quebecois. Plus, there’s my stubborn belief that everything is perfect up North and no one pretends like socialized healthcare is an assault on freedom or Stalinism 101.

And they have Roots.

In terms of festivities, I’m not a big think-ahead person. I see it like this: why plan something fun when someone more motivated will step up and do it for me? (And if no one does, we can just drink.) Unsurprisingly, then, this is the first time I’ve been in charge of a vacation. My trip planning credentials start and end with “Orbitz search expert,” but, who knew, the Internet makes it pretty easy. As I read through the Lonely Planet website on all things maple leaf, I can’t help but think about past trips and where I still want to go.

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During college, I was lucky enough to visit the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Israel, and after graduation last year, British Columbia. Vacations are great because they can revolve around so many different things: friends, partying, family, nature, culture, etc. You can hunker down on the beach with a margarita and learn what’s new in sex from Cosmo, enhance distaste for Americans by expecting all Europeans to speak English, or hike through the Rockies.

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Personally, I’m really into the exploration side of vacations these days. My freckled cheeks can only take so much sun time, and I’d rather get burnt sightseeing than crisping beside a swim-up bar. This simple Midwestern girl is turning over a new leaf and making big plans. Vague plans, yes, but plans nonetheless. I want to see all the awesome things in my own country, for one. I’ll criticize the U.S. up and down, but I’ll always love America and want to make it better.

Recently, I’ve realized that there is so much of it I have yet to see. What’s in South Dakota? What about Arkansas or Mississippi? I hear Oregon and North Carolina are pretty, but I wouldn’t know. It’s funny how I become exasperated when other Americans don’t think like me, while entirely disregarding how big and diverse this nation actually is. I think it’s important to know about where you’re from, not just your town or state/province, but your country as a whole. Thus, to see something beautiful in every state is a new bucket list for me.

I also secretly want to backpack across Europe by myself. This desire started as more of an it’s-the-only-way-I’ll-get-to-do-it resignation than as a true dream. My oldest friend (since age five!) and I used to talk about doing a Euro trip sometime after we graduated from high school. We even did a little research and decided on which countries we wanted to hit. Sadly, these plans have not yet become a reality, and I’m fairly certain they never will. With her almost engaged and in grad school and me “finding myself,” it has started to look like I’ll also have to “find” a new plan for Europe. But I’ve decided that that’s okay. We don’t need London or Paris to be friends. And honestly, the idea of weaving my way through the Netherlands and Germany all by my lonesome doesn’t sound lonely to me at all, but, rather, extremely liberating.

There was this one time in college when Maya Angelou came to speak at my campus, and I really wanted to go see her. I asked a bunch of my friends, but everyone was either busy or uninterested. I’m somewhat self-conscious, and I had never gone to any sort of performance by myself. Thankfully, I realized that that was stupid and went anyway. It was such a cool experience, and I couldn’t believe that I even considered skipping out on M. Angelou just because no one wanted to come with me.

So that’s kind of what backpacking through Europe is for me, on a much larger, and more interactive, scale. For all my self-consciousness, I do value independence, and I think it’s good to be able to enjoy time by yourself. And what better way to do that than while soaking up foreign culture?

Of course, all of this is in the abstract at the present. For now, I’m focusing on my next exciting journey to Canada with my best friend.

Carry on, wanderlust.

Freely,

LM

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