Archive | March 2014

Nomads and Real Adults


Travel is an empowering verb.  To travel is to challenge yourself, often to fail miserably, but also to find new self-respect in those moments when you master(ish) a new language, a new subway system or a new form of chili.  Traveling forces you to put yourself out there and take stances on issues you didn’t know existed.

The downside of all this travel-induced decision making is that you can become a little too proud of standing on your own two feet.  You feel like the master of the universe the day you can use a long drop without blinking an eye.  You can take on the world the day you convince a Nigerian customs agent to let you through without your passport.  You become a little too comfortable with knowing you’ll get from A to B, even if you don’t know exactly how.

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Retracing Steps

the best city in the world

Every year I interrupt my nomadic existence to go home, the place I grew up.  Every Christmas the allure of exotic locales can’t manage to outshine the brilliance of Middle of Nowhere, Michigan.  Funny what a nice family does to you.  I crave corn fields over white sand beaches, and choose metro-Detroit potholes to a skydiving adventure elsewhere.

So it’s not that I’ve never retraced my footsteps.  But up until now I’ve never re-visited one of the more exotic places I once lived.  Then last month JD and I went back to South Africa.  The reason: a fantastic family wedding in Johannesburg.  Our detour to the city of Cape Town, where we spent three years together before moving on to Vietnam, seemed innocent enough.  What I didn’t realize then was that an old home is like an old boyfriend: it can unexpectedly rekindle a fire you’d thought burned out long ago.  Really, I should’ve known better.  After two years as “just friends” on separate continents, JD and I were back together one second after we saw each other again.  I have no excuse to underestimate South Africa’s charm.

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