I went rummaging through our closet this weekend. Re-discovered a box of my writing: journals, poetry from first grade, letters not sent. Uncovering the box felt like all of a sudden finding there's one more piece of chocolate cake. I became voracious.
Ten years ago, I was on foreign term with Augustana College. I never fit in there very well, having done most of my "acting out" in high school, I found the Greek system and a lot of my colleagues boring and contrived. Snooty, right? But I always smiled, I made a few great friends. It served its purpose. Ten years ago to the day, I was in Cuzco, Peru preparing for a hike on the Inca Trail. I write of the excruciating pain, losing toenails, not finishing the trek but still being proud. I write of sleeping in someone's backyard, with kittens in my sleeping bag and cows looming nearby.
When I got to Belem, Brazil, I write of my homestay with a close-knit, working class family. I hungered for routine on my journey but also craved adventure. I spoke Spanish that made the locals look twice.
I miss that.
Somehow reading the pages of this tattered book are romantic. My dad was 53. He wouldn't die for another four years. I was dating a man still in Chicago. He would move on. But the quality of life in the journal was vibrant and challenging; sweaty and frustrating. I didn't know it then, but I was growing.
I want it again. Feeling terrified and persevering at the summit; your summit, not necessarily the one on the map. It was all completely unknown. More than wanting it again, I want to know it when I feel it. . . honor it and document it. That trip was the start of something long since dormant that I want to rise again.