1992 was a year of first for me. First time I got a passport, first time traveling on my own, first time going overseas, first time I was ever on an airplane. I was traveling from Kansas to London, England, where I would spend a year studying theater and film, my real passion at the time. My actual physical journey from start to finish was about twenty-three hours.

I wasn’t very happy at the beginning of the journey. My heart and soul were raging like the thunderstorm that crashed all us from the time my family left the house and arrived at the airport about an hour later. I did not think of the stormy weather as a bad omen. Instead, it was a prophecy of all the unusual adventures ahead of me. I was off on my very first expedition and couldn’t settle down. I remember trying to sit still with my family by the gate waiting for my flight, but I couldn’t stay motionless. I felt right at that moment that I just wanted to go back home, back to the safety of my family and all that was familiar. Even though this adventure was the fulfillment of a dream for me, I now felt like running back to the safety of my old common existence—days that were filled with going to school full time at the University of Kansas, working at the local movie theater, and modeling in the art department of the college. It was a recognizable, consistent life. I knew where I was supposed to be every moment and what was expected of me. Is this what stops people from being so adventurous? A need for the familiar? A need to feel safe? A need for a regular routine of life, not letting anything different interfere?

Another first…for the first time in my life now, I found myself craving those moments, those usual routines. My daily routine served as an anchor to a life and mind that were always drifting, always searching. What exactly was it that has kept me moving? Why is it that I had grown up so shy and quiet and yet I run from the regular routine, the “normal” life?

For awhile, I sat in the airport by the gate silently praying. Oh, God, what have I done? I thought of Mom wanting to run away from her wedding. She wanted to get away; I felt the need to return. But it was too late for me now to think about that. Too late to wonder about those impulses that push me to the next stage of my life. My plane would be taking off in less than an hour. I still couldn’t sit calmly. I again paced relentlessly back and forth, anxious to be on my way or turn back home. Either one, I just wanted to get going.

Mom appeared calm and relaxed though her legs swung and her fingernails tapped nervously on the armrest of the chair where she was sitting. She was trying not to relay the fact that she was on the verge of changing her mind about the situation, too. But before she could finally get up the nerve to tell me to come back home, my plane was beginning to board all of the passengers heading off for their own private adventures. I hugged my family good-bye quickly. I thought it would be best to get on the plane fast before I had time to reconsider what I was doing. I started on my way to the plane, head held high with fake pride and confidence. Yes, my body was getting on the plane bound for England. But my heart and soul were not really sure where I was going.

Though I admit I struggled with homesickness the first few weeks, I loved Hull, England, from the moment I arrived. I met many great people and loved the experience of exploring some place new and different.


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