Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thursday Wednesday Travelogue: The Trip I Never Took

I have no doubt that I'll be out of the net all day tomorrow, so I'm running my Travelogue a day early.

So tell me if any of you have ever wondered this: At what point did I finally start understanding the world around me? By that question, I mean, at what point did I stop getting silly notions in my mind that were inescapably true to me and start realizing cold reality?

This event from my past has me thinking about it.

I grew up an Air Force brat, moving all around States. The one thing I never got to do, as an Air Force dependent, was travel anywhere overseas. I had friends who did. I knew a wealth of people who Germany, England, and one person who'd been to the elusive station -- in Australia!

I met this person when we were stationed in Colorado Springs at Peterson AFB. I was in sixth grade and we were getting close to the time that we moved again. To me, the idea of moving had always been a good thing. New places, new people, new things to do -- I always enjoyed going to new places. Somehow Australia, the idea having been planted in my mind by that one person, seemed more exotic than any other place we could go. More unknown or strange or something. This was before Crocodile Dundee, so it wasn't that. I'm not sure why I latched on to the idea, but it became a passion, an obsession.

I went as far as asking my dad if it was possible for us to get stationed there. He made the mistake of telling me yes. From that point it was solved in my mind -- we were going to Australia. No ifs, ands or buts. I had deemed it so!

Here's the part that makes me wonder -- why didn't I have any nagging doubts about the possibility of going elsewhere? Why didn't I understand that we were, in all likelyhood going somewhere else? I think I wanted to believe it so much that I simply shut out any other possibilities. I'm serious about this -- going to Australia was like a mantra to me. I would talk about it all the time. Our classroom had a huge world map on it and I would spend unhealthy amounts of time looking at that damn island continent.

So, in the end, we moved to Mississippi. Biloxi. It didn't sound as exotic as Australia. It wasn't foreign. But I got over it. However, Australia, the idea of it has always held some fascination to me and I would love to go sometime. Hopefully, someday, I'll be able to take the family. And I'm sure I'll complain about it the entire time.

What I'm wondering, is when did I lose this ... innocence, I guess it is? Was the transition subtle or sudden? I don't remember. I can look back and clearly see this young kid blindly enamored with ideas, and I can look not quite so far back and see a cynical pre-teen.

I miss being so enamored with ideas, but I don't miss being that blind to the world around me.

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