Dear travel,

I’ve been stuck in Washington for a huge chunk of my life. The trees here are the same ones I saw as a kid, the air, the same feel as what I remember. There’s mountains and valleys, and bodies of water that I can close my eyes and picture, with certainty, even when I’m not around them. I’ve walked the trails, and hiked the mountains, and really got to know this place in these 23 years of my life. I got married here, graduated high school here, learned to drive here, and did a lot of life here. And although, I’m fine living here, I’m not ok staying here forever. 

I’ve only ever been out of the country once. And before you mention Canada, I don’t count that. If I can walk across the border on foot, and still see the same views as this place, than I don’t really count that as somewhere new. No, the place I’m referring to is Sweden: replacing the trees and mountains I’ve come to know, with unfamiliar water… A lot of water.  There, I walked down roads I hadn’t touched before, I breathed in the air of a different city… A different country… A different side of the world.  I ate food, heard music, met people, and felt an atmosphere surround me there, different then anything I’ve felt here. And then, home greeted me once again.

Travel is in my blood. I can feel it’s pull on my heart. Some people may feel at peace staying in one place for their whole life; Like their digging their roots deep into the soil, and depending on it’s nutrients to stay alive. But I’m not a tree. I dig my roots into people, not places. And although, I do have roots here, they are not ones of restraint, merely ones of knowledge. My family history was here, yes, but it was also around the world. And true, those who came before me settled here, but that was my past, not my future, and that was them, this is me. I want to move around: to see things I haven’t experienced, to know people on the other side of the mountains, to feel the wind in another town, and embrace a culture I’ve yet to really know. 

My great grandfather came to America from Norway, a dream for a better life, his motivation. He embraced the culture here, to the point where he let go of his own past entirely. His kids never learned to speak his native language, they never knew the culture he left behind. I’d never let go of my culture the way he did, but I also hope to someday, experience others… I guess for him, it was all or nothing. Maybe it was painful to look back, or maybe it was that he didn’t want to look back at all. Either way, this is where we landed, and this is where we’ve been for so long… almost too long. 

It’s not to say I don’t enjoy Washington state or the experiences I’ve had here, that’s so far from the truth. I’ve loved having a home in this crazy world, the people I’ve come to know and love here, a big part of that. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t other people, and places, and things, out there that I don’t want to stick some roots into. I’d love to travel, and meet people who may just change my entire life. I’d love to sink my soul into the sands of another ocean, to feel the Lord working through me in a distant land. To feel the love He holds for all his people, in every area of the world. To make the entire planet, my home. 

I’m not a tree. I don’t have physical chains keeping me grounded.

I’m not a tree. I have the ability to lift my feet and move.

I’m not a tree. I can feel the call of adventure in another direction.

I’m not a tree. And, if you’re honest, neither are you. 

You’re not a tree, so don’t insist on living like one.

Until next time,

Melissa

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