Nearly every photograph I look at lately whispers to me. “Travel,” they say. “Move. Adventure. Explore.” I find myself plotting new locations to watch sunrises, imagining stories that might be told at sunset, daydreaming about conversations with strangers. I want to learn languages and make mistakes and wander down dark alleys, discovering shops time has forgotten.
I remember being 17 in Germany, so sure that the wrong turn would take me to the right place. There were small bakeries that made pastries in the shape of fish bones and marketplaces that sold bundles of sticks and strawberries in the cold. I walked down streets drunk on new cities and lack of sleep. I declared one road on some island heaven and watched as the sail boats glided across the lake.
I remember being 21 in Ireland, falling in love with the melodic accent and the rosy cheeks of a dair-haired boy who worked on a boat. I climbed over stone walls in the pouring rain to see nature’s sights and ate blue ice cream that seemed more from Hogwarts than this world with the way its flavor seemed to change. I ate sandwiches on riverbanks and noticed a balance there I hadn’t seen in the States. I wasn’t ready yet to wander cities alone.
Ten years later, there was Scotland. A country I traveled alone. This time solitude was comfortable. I was ready to open myself to strangers, and wonders unfolded. I discovered stories and fairy hills and old stone circles. I ate meals in cities and coastal towns and small villages. My heart broke open with love, over and over. My time there was a dream.
And soon, the wind will carry me away again.