I scurried out to the mailbox and there it was, my new passport and all of the potential in its blank pages. This book would become my travel companion and confidant for the next 10 years. When I ponder 10 years from now, I hope to stare back at a book filled with decorated stamps and stories. As I submitted my renewal application, I had the option to automatically add more pages to my book. I checked the box casually, but this was in fact a grand decision. In those extra pages was a hope of travel. And the day my passport arrived in the mail, my life seemed to change with it.
After getting married in August, my husband and I spent the majority of September island hopping around Greece. We saw so much in a short span of time that I am still writing and recalling each experience. By the middle of October, I tearfully said goodbye to Colorado, a place I had always called home. We set out on an open road for Arkansas.
Just a few states away, I might as well have been placed on the moon. The language was the same, but it certainly didn’t sound similar. Suddenly, 60 degrees and sunshine was frigid compared to dry Colorado. Liquor stores would close on Sundays and the Walmarts seemed to expand with each mile behind me. The Razorbacks were a religion. I began to see that even within 800 miles, you could be living a very different life. We were stationary.
When we arrived to Arkansas, we dressed up our house. As soon as we hung things up on the walls and bought furniture to fill each room, it seemed like it was time to go. My husband was going to start a business here, but it just wasn’t in the cards. The stress of going it alone in a business and realizing travel was his passion swayed the pendulum in a different direction. He could sense how much I missed Colorado and how it seemed that to reach anywhere from this tiny corner of northwest Arkansas, it required a 10 hour drive or a very expensive plane ride. The day my passport arrived, it became clear. We had these newly bound books telling us to go somewhere and yet we were stuck living a stationary life. After almost of year of wedding planning and living out of suitcases, I missed those days of splendid instability just as soon as they vanished.
We both have careers that merely require an Internet connection. He translates German into English all day and I try and come up with sentences to string together. With each passing day of stability, of having a nice place to call home, we realized we were wasting an opportunity. To have two people with no commitments to a location, we could go anywhere. And yet we were grounded. When our passports arrived, we made a decision, one that will no doubt seem foolish in some eyes but a decision nonetheless. We decided to move, again.
We will head back to Colorado in April with a much better perch to launch our travels. The move will cost money, energy and time, but we will both be happy in the end. I tell this deeply personal story for two people in two different positions. Those in stationary lives, where little travel is possible, there is always the passport book with extra pages. There is always the hope that you will travel. Only you can make that happen. And for the person lamenting being on the road, of not having stability and walls decorated, the grass is always greener. There is a quiet instability in stability, one not often heard until you are truly grounded. Over the next few months, you’ll find me packing up again, moving and flipping through the pages of my passport, speculating on where we’ll go.
Have you ever experienced such stability only to want to be unstable again?