Sometimes we get lost in the allure of the unknown, everything we think we know about home becomes boring, mundane and stifling. That feeling brews this unrestricted desire to get out, to get out as far as possible from wherever we are. For a self proclaimed adventurous 20 something spirit, that meant leaving the States. After a crazy unforgiving 2013, I had enough.The desire to leave took me over. I felt stagnant, misunderstood and an oddity living in a space where everything was the same.
But... I was broke (I'm still broke), so I planned to get the getting somewhere away from that feeling, somewhere within my coin purse's reach. I surfed the internets, researched a little, and decided your girl wanted to hit the Maldives!
Like a real G, your girl didn’t have a passport. And I didn’t get a passport until the end of 2014 when I was 28.
But that was okay, my heart was set. I was specific when I pointed on the map, and I knew all the energy I was putting into this effort was attracting exactly what I wanted to come my way (see "The Secret" by Rhonda Bryne.)
So one of my sisters, Saudia, paid for my fees to get a passport (I was super broke). Once I got that book in the mail, I was so ready for stamps. I was so ready to stunt on all the international travels.
And just as quickly as I sent Saudia a text with the "look at me now" picture, she asked me if I’d been to Nashville,
I said no.
She asked if I’d been to New Mexico.
I said no.
She asked if I’d been to the Pacific-North-West-The-Four-Corners-or-anything-with-mountains.
At this point I thought she was trying to play me, so I typed less and hit her with, “nah.”
She plays the role of older sibling so well that she knew she could keep texting and that I would be waiting for another inquiry, so she asked “How do you know you want to go away, if you don’t know what’s here at home?”
Like a younger sister, I broke free from the you-can’t-tell-me-anything-pout and said, “I want to see the United States,” like it was my idea.
Fast forward to Christmas 2014, I was specific in what I wanted for myself and the ways I wanted to grow through experience. My friends, being the rock stars that they are, were ready to run around the states in pursuit of what makes home, home. We strategically plotted and used paid vacation time around national holidays. We would surf Instagram, and used all sorts of hashtags to find interesting domestic treasures.
From Portland, to Austin, to Chicago, to Taos, to Nashville, to Phoenix , we lived and saw everything and spent barely anything.
My friends and I were hooked on seeing parks, the natural glory of the states any and everywhere. We looked for things that were close to major cities so we could fly in and drive to remote locations. (I will provide you with an awesome AirBnB list shortly!) Each city had its own personality, but what we found in every state or national park we went to was a huge population of international tourists. Almost always, my friends and I were not only the few folks with a little more melanin, but also one of very few Americans.
As a result, our sights for domestic travel became even more focused.
(I wish I made this next part up, but sometimes life is dope as hell and your energy knows what the universe wants.)
So, after a little research, I found these two really interesting articles (http://bit.ly/NYTimes2013 & http://bit.ly/NYTimes_2015) about people of color not visiting National Parks. Immediately after, I started following the National Parks Foundation and the National Park Service on Instagram to see what I was missing or maybe what everyone that looks like me might be missing. A few scenic posts and days later, the Foundation posted a contest looking for a diverse audience to experience National Parks on the #FindYourPark expedition.
After a million hugs and the “You’re going to get it,” texts from my boyfriend and friends, I got it.
The National Park Foundation created this amazing adventure for folks to see freedom, history and the outside, here, at home, in a different way. (Next week I'll dive a little further into this adventure.)
I say all of this to say, sure, we all have different motivations, different blessings for budgets and different standards on cultural connections, but there are things around you at home. You can't fight where your spirit pulls you, but sometimes your interpretation of that "gut" feeling, can lead you to a standstill in trying to figure out how and where.
For now, I encourage you to find the good about home, and tell me if there's awesomeness around you so I can come.