The neighbor's dumb dog woke me up again this morning at 8:30 a.m. It's Sunday and I would like to have slept a little more. Too bad we can't pick our neighbors. I'd like to ditch mine. They've paid a lot of fines for letting their dog bawl it's head off - it's some kind of coon hound. They don't seem to get the message that everyone is sick of their crap. They give dog ownership a bad name.
Anyway, I'm up now and thinking about the day. I've been surfing Facebook a little. I caught up on my Words With Friends games and read a couple blogs by Kristine Adams. She's a Fat Chance Belly Dance member who is traveling the world solo, teaching classes here and there. Right now she's in Mexico. I think her ultimate destination is Russia. I know she's doing this trip on a dime. FCBD, which performs American Tribal Style belly dance (the form I study), had several fundraisers for her before she left and she sold many of her things - including much-loved belly dance gear - in order to raise money for her trip. I'd love to be trekking around with her. That's one of my dreams, too, to travel the world. Here she is in Guadalajara.
Which is what I was thinking about when I woke up this morning. I want to travel. I've always wanted to travel. I've had some nice trips. Here's me in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1989 with friends I still love and miss.
I've been to Mexico several times; spent two months traveling in the British Isles, Germany and France; seen Argentina and been to Austria, but there's so much more I want to see and do. I want to go to Amsterdam. I've never been to Canada. I want to go back to France and parlais some Francais. I want to buy fabric and textiles in India, Turkey and Morocco. I want to dance with women in other countries who dance the language of ATS. I want to LIVE abroad, not just visit. And that's the thing, I always come back home when I should just keep going. Traveling and learning languages are the main things I've really wanted to do in my life and somehow they seem to elude me. I woke up thinking all this time I've wanted to pursue and live my dreams - and at this age I thought I would have achieved this. Instead, I've been anchored to the same place for 13 years. Domesticity is not my strong suit.
I love creating things, and I have a wide array of sewing skills. I can look back and see how my whole life I have absorbed myself in these pursuits when I couldn't realize other dreams. (I've heard it called "shrinking your dreams.") As a kid we lived an even more isolated life on a farm not far from where I live now. I wasn't allowed to go anywhere (never got to take gymnastics or dance classes like I dreamed about) and rarely managed to even get out of the house and enjoy the place due to my controlling parents. I often had to choose "safe" activities like cross stitching or reading, so I can see how this mindset started young. As an adult, lack of either time or money has always been an issue for me, so I've stayed closer to home. Doing what was safer, perhaps, or even using lack of funds as an excuse to stay put. Either way, I'm not blaming anyone but myself for not achieving my own goals. But I can look around my house right now and see what I have chosen to invest in - tatting thread, fabric, beads, jewelry supplies, patterns - instead of my real dreams. What is it about us that we put off what we really want to do?
Living in a small town for so long forced me to find things to do that would keep me interested in life. Belly dance has become my latest thing, and I love it to pieces. I love the costuming. I love watching myself grow and change as I grasp new moves and begin to construct a base of knowledge of ATS.
I have overcome serious health issues - some still dog me - in my pursuit of this dance form, but I keep pushing forward. I have come a long way in the past few years. I love watching our troupe shift and change and grow. It's exciting and rewarding and one of the most physically challenging things I've ever done. I know dance keeps me sane and interested in life. But it's not always enough.
It's not enough for me, and I know if I don't hit the road some time soon I will always regret not doing so. I look at people like Kristine Adams and the Zapp family, which wasn't even a family when starting out 13 years ago. The Zapps, Herman and Candy, are from Argentina and they've been traveling the world for 13 years in an antique car.
I don't even know where they are right now, but they are all about just getting on the road, conquering your fears about travel and experiencing the world. They have nearly been eaten by crocodiles in the Amazon jungle, supported themselves by learning to paint, and had four children along the way. People all over the world have helped them achieve their dreams. They are proof that if you take the leap life will catch you.
I know we are always told to be grateful for what you have, to bloom where you are planted. Those are wise words. And I do love many things about my life, especially my husband, Shane. He's the best. I adore our cats. I love the Midwest landscape. I love the trips Shane and I have taken together. Here's us in Cozumel.
At the same time, I don't want to say "oh, well, this is all there is." If we aren't growing and changing and reaching for our dreams then we are dying. Not to travel feels like dying to me. Traveling is one of the best things I've experienced in life. It's time to get out there and do some more of it.