Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Behind My Bedroom Door
I caught the bug when I was about ten years old.
My grandpa had it too—he passed it on to me. And even though my poor grandma didn’t have it, he made her take part in it.
The travel bug.
Grandpa Earl retired early, and he and my grandma spent probably 20 years traveling all over the world. Twice that I recall they went literally around the world. They went to Europe several times, to Central America, to Asia. And every time they got back from a trip I’d say, “So, Grandpa, where are you going next?”
He always had an answer for me.
I knew I had it when I started pilfering the Travel section of the Chicago Tribune on Sunday afternoons. I’d take it to my room, close the door softly, and grab my scissors and tape.
“Rome is for Lovers”
“St. Barts: A Romantic Getaway”
“The Stunning Beaches of Puerto Rico”
“Switzerland on $10 a Day”
The headlines grabbed my attention, not so much for the content, but for the place names. I would carefully cut out the name of each place that sounded romantic, mysterious, or intriguing—places I wanted to visit someday—and then I’d tape the names of these places to the back of my door.
The back of my bedroom door was the perfect hideaway for my dreams. During the day, while my door stood open, the names could not be seen, so my sisters couldn’t tease me about them.
But at night, while I studied or read or got ready for bed, the names remained fixed in their spot, for my eyes only. For my dreams only.
Throughout junior high and high school I continued to steal the Chicago Tribune Travel section, and I continued to cut out names of places I’d someday like to see. By the time I graduated from high school, the back of my door was completely covered.
I still remember the day I left for college and had to remove those place names, those destinations that had become very much a part of me. I slowly peeled back the tape so that I wouldn’t rip any of the newsprint, and I remember thinking for a minute that I should save them but then chastising myself for the ridiculousness of it all.
After college I got married, but before we ever walked down the aisle I made sure that B understood that I was just like Grandpa Earl, always dreaming about the next trip. I would happily forgo a huge house or nice car for a trip.
I indoctrinated him before we had kids by taking him to England to see many of the places I had seen in college. We backpacked and stayed in Youth Hostels and did the entire trip for $2,500, which was an absolute fortune to us back then.
Since then I have seen a lot of those places—St. Barts, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland, even—and we have made family memories to last a lifetime. And I still contend that spending money on travel is never a waste.
Nor is spending time in your bedroom cutting out place names from the Travel section of the newspaper, dreaming of the next trip you will take.
The world is vast and huge and diverse and a blessed place to be. When I travel I sense that God is in it all and sees it all and controls it all. I see His creativity and His ordering of things and His hand reaching out to the world. I feel a part of the vastness and hugeness and the diversity of God.
And that is a blessed place to be.
Now tell me, do you like to travel? Why or why not?