It doesn’t take people a long time knowing me before they realize that I have the “travel bug.” Recently, I’ve been hearing the same question over and over: “So, where’s your next trip?”
I only have one sibling, and my sister is expecting a baby girl in March. For some people, being an aunt or an uncle is no big deal. But I’m going to be a different kind of aunt. This little girl is going to be smothered with love and all the balloons she could ever want. I plan to be a huge part of her life. I can’t wait to take her on all sorts of adventures, and I hope I’m the person she calls when she’s fifteen and her parents are driving her crazy. I know she’ll grow up faster than I can imagine, and I enjoyed imagining her in balloons for my sister’s baby shower this weekend.
As I’ve been preparing for this new role, I’ve been thinking about how similar it feels to preparing for a trip. Wearing the “aunt hat” will be different and exciting, like exploring a new country. I’ll certainly encounter challenges at times, but the rewards will be worth every hard spot. And there’s only so much planning that’s possible, because you can’t really know a place until you are there.
Don’t worry. I’ll never stop exploring new countries. It’s a passion that will stay with me forever. However, I’ve been experimenting with other ways to explore the wonder of our planet. In addition to the “travel bug” I think I also have the “artist bug.” I feel a sheer joy when I create a new balloon sculpture, learn to make jewelry out of shrinky dinks, or carve something out of foam (these are all recent projects). There’s a hunger inside me to create and connect, and travel and art are ways to do those things. It’s about living life to the fullest. Recently, I’ve also discovered a new hobby — running! I’ve heard people talk about the “runner’s high” but I never played many sports when I was young. I’m just now realizing how great it can feel to challenge myself physically.