I had always wanted to study abroad, it was one of my requirements for any college I applied to: they had to have a study abroad program. So it was always on my radar, even though I had never been out of the country (minus to the Caribbean) before. What I didn’t expect was how much that first trip would change everything, how much it would set me on a life path of exploration. My mother definitely had no idea either.
Two weeks in Barcelona were followed by three weeks in Israel and then three months in London.
I got to see so much of the world so quickly. I could jump to France or Italy for a weekend, wander the streets of Vienna freely and happily, not knowing how much it would shape me and my future. And it was all because my mother gave me the chance.
You fostered in me a desire for adventure and knowledge. You encouraged my curiosity and told me to keep going to truly enjoy myself. You did so at great financial cost to yourself and never said a word. You did it because you loved me and saw how truly happy I was traveling abroad, seeing the world.
My mother supported my decision to move to Japan after college, and again to go to graduate school in London (twice). Did she want to be thousands of miles apart from me? Of course not.
I believe many people can say that they would not be the people they were today if it were not for their mother. I can wholeheartedly say this.
My mother did what so many find such difficulty in doing: she let me go.
She let me spread my wings and fly off across the world. She didn’t try and hold me back, she didn’t try and convince me to stay at home and get a 9-5 in our small city. No, she let me pack my bags and see the world. She was there when I needed to come back, and she was there when I needed to leave again. She supported my crazy life decisions and continues to do so.
I have jumped all over the world, unable to stay in one place for very long (many a Christmas was spent on Skype opening up presents at odd hours). To date I have spent a year in Japan, three weeks in Israel, three years in England, and am now coming up to one year in Korea. In between there have been stints in America, sometimes with her, sometimes not. And the question always was, “where to next?”
When my mother and sister came to Japan to visit me when I was living there, it was the greatest experience. To be able to show them both my new home – to share my love of travel – it was a joy and a half.
My goal is to get my mom to travel more, to make sure she has the ability to. It may take me awhile, but I want to do that for her. I want to bring her to Machu Picchu, to show her London and Paris and Venice and Vienna. I want to bring her to BBQ here in Seoul and wander around Kyoto again with her. I want to share the love of travel that my mother allowed me to have by giving me that chance all those years ago, I want to share my wonder and excitement with her in ways more than photos.
So to the mother who gave me this love and allowed me to truly explore the world, thank you. Thank you for everything. For your support. For your love. For your excitement and amusement. Thank you.
And now choose where you want to go… because we’re going to go on a trip. When you have time, of course, but pick a destination. We’re going to go.
Happy Mother’s Day
Your Wanderlusting Daughter