Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Have Passport. Will Travel.

My life in 2008 was boring.

I mean, really. Truly. While driving to Ithaca, New York a few weekends ago, I came to the embarrassing and startling realization that it had been a year since I'd left Ohio.


I am all kinds of shocked and humiliated to say this. I graduated from high school in Malaysia. I spent a semester in Hawaii. I spent a Thanksgiving in London. I traveled to Denver three times my senior year. I filled up my passport by the time I was twenty-one, for goodness sake!

But, no, suddenly I'm little Miss Can't Afford to Travel.

And I really don't WANT to be little Miss Can't Afford to Travel.

I want to go to a million different places. I want to spend money on vacations. I used to dream I'd be Polly from that silly movie, Along Came Polly - moving around from place to place with no boring jobs. I want to experience all the places I visited in the first 22 years of my life all over again as an adult. I want to visit Paris, Thailand, Vancouver, Malaysia, Hawaii, Bali, London, Singapore, and the Philippines again - and this time with Mike!

I always meet the most interesting people when I travel. There was the time a British guy bought me soup to spend the last of his American dollars and showed me his photos from Fiji. The time I spent a whole night in the O'Hare airport ticket area watching Family Guy with some guy on my way to Hawaii. And the time I was seventeen and was hit on by a guy from London at the Kuala Lumpur airport. And several angry divorced ladies. (Oh, those are the fun ones, right?)

With my poverty-level wages (I wish I was exaggerating) and Mike's grad school stealing all of his salary, we just don't have ANY money to speak of. Period. At all.

2009 will be better than 2008, I promise you this.

For one, I applied for a new passport. A married name passport.

For two, I already have tickets to travel to El Paso/Juarez next month, courtesy of work. I'll be going back there in May for ten days.

For three, I'm going to the University of Maryland for a conference next month. (Again, thank you, work!)

And four, my bikini-clad body will be traipsing along the South Carolina beaches come June, courtesy of the in-laws.

That means I'll be out of the office for three - count 'em, THREE - weeks, leaving the US two times, and leaving Ohio four times. All paid for by others.

And until I can visit again, I'll just stare longingly at photos...

Jungle Fever
Jungle right by my family's townhouse in Malaysia.

lanterns at hot market
Chinese store kitsch.

The upper room.
View from my family's house.

This guy had a really awesome bow tie
Asian man with bow-tie.

I seriously want to move back here. Seriously.


  1. Traveling is an amazing luxury that is all too often taken for granted. It's disheartening to see talk of your perceived poverty when there are millions upon millions of Americans living in true poverty who have never, and probably will never, set foot outside of our nation's borders; nor will they get to see many of the wonderful treasures our own country has to offer.

    Would you give up just one of your upcoming trips so that a less fortunate individual could see a single corner of the world they otherwise might never know?

  2. What an incredible chance! I'm in the same boat right now, I'm definitely Miss Can't Travel - and while I'm doing some of the things that you are (passport) I can't find a way around the getting time off work issue.

    Hopefully once I've put in my first year at my new job that will loosen up! And I'm excited to hear all about your travels.

  3. You've done a lot of traveling so far in your life, you're lucky!!! I suppose I have as well, just not to super amazing far off lands ;) I have loads of places I'd like to go, but also not tons of money. Oh well I guess when we're old and rich (and in wheel chairs) we can all go on fabulous vacations together :p

  4. I seriously miss travel too, it's been way too long since I went anywhere interesting or fun. I want to start by moving...but I'll need a better paying job/G will need to get a good job and I'll need a transfer with raise in pay...yeah...

  5. I am so with you girl. I love to travel, and feel like I went to so many more places when I was younger- Germany for a month, NYC, on our honeymoon in London, Rome, Munich, and then Israel last year. But this year we really didn't go anywhere new, and I think it has contributed to my restlessness. I have a serious travel bug all the time. Here's to some new and exciting places in 2009!

  6. That is so awesome!!! And paid for by others is definitely the way to travel ;)

  7. Also, I hate it when people try to make you feel bad about personal troubles by playing the "there are other less fortunate people in the world." Seriously, anyone who has read this blog before knows that you don't take anything for granted and do everything in your power to make the world a better place. What a snotty comment!

  8. I totally agree! I cannot wait to get out of Indiana and back to Europe. I can't believe it's been 2 years since I lived there.

  9. I personally think that traveling is the anti-snot!

    The more of the world you see, the less you'll take what you do have for granted. So, keep traveling and keep being you, because you are fabulous.

    But--do be careful in Juarez--it's not exactly the safest place with the drug violence!

    I've got the chronic travel itch too, and I am constantly scheming to make it happen!

  10. Eh, sometimes travel can cycle--a ton in some years, then little in others. Maybe "not traveling" has deepened your appreciation of traveling? Very excited you have your new (new name) passport!

  11. wow... sounds really great travelling the world. you really have to go to Bali... (((=

  12. You lived in Malaysia?!?! How freaking beautiful are those views from your house! Sweetheart, just be glad you've been to any of those places...the only place out of the US that I've been is Ensenada...and that doesn't really count! LOL!!

  13. ahh, i love traveling! lets go somewhere together ;)

    what nationality are you?

    you have a great list!

    i would love to travel to italy and prague...i've been to vietnam and the food there is amazing. phillipines was great too - i got my hair chemically straightened there for super cheap!

    i hope you get to go everywhere you want in 09 ;)

  14. Hi! I went to Singapore and Malaysia for my honeymoon, it was amazing! Loved it.

    I feel you on missing the traveling :( We're trying to save money to buy a house (not a modest goal considering we live in California) so travel is something we just can't afford anymore. I miss it so much! Now the only place we allow ourselves to go occasionally is Ohio and Montreal to see family. As much as I love to see family, it's so disappointing not to be able to travel somewhere new and exotic!

  15. That's amazing! How long were you in malaysia for?

  16. I traveled a lot when I was younger too and definitely want to revisit all of those amazing places now that my list of "likes" extends beyond kid's museums and foods that are white.

  17. ellen will be down. lets go somewhere. lets chat.

  18. Oh it ate my comment, argh! Try again.

    Um...is it the University of Maryland College Park campus? I went there for a year. If so, go rub Testudo's (the turtle mascot, if you don't know) nose for me, for good luck.

    I need to go somewhere this year. For some reason I have Korea on the brain. Or maybe Canada...I can dream.

  19. Ooh start saving - travel is fantastic and I will live it vicariously through you, I would love to go abroad again (even back to the US) but no can do with a fatal nut allergy and unable to sit for more than half an hour without having to struggle with crutches and walk!

  20. Oh how I agree with you. I'm longing to get out of the country! Yay that other people are paying!!!

  21. Your pictures are beautiful. You are going to have awesome stories to tell you children one day :) I hope you get your traveling fixes this year!

  22. Okay, so this might be totally off-base, but knowing that you're Catholic (and having no idea what school you work at), I have to ask: Do your trips to El Paso/Jaurez have anything to do with Las Alas or The Lord's Ranch? I did some mission work there during my freshman year and I just found it an odd coincidence that you would say the place names in that way if it was completely unrelated. If you don't want to give details in the comments, you can email me to let me know :-D

  23. Wow! That's so exciting that you're going to get to travel out of Ohio multiple times in the upcoming months!

    I certainly hope my 2009 is just as exciting as yours!

  24. Traveling is sooo expensive! The only time I get to do it is when work pays for me to go to meetings and conferences. It's amazing how many interesting people you come across when you are traveling :) Enjoy the warm weather for me!

  25. Oooooh! I am sooooo right with you on this post. I want to go somewhere, anywhere, and I want it to be warm and beachy. Or full of midevil buildings. Or ancient ruins.

    I'm so glad you have some travels to look forward to this year already!


  26. omg. is that hotel in singapore because I THINK and i could be wrong that it's right near where i stayed with The Ex when we went there. His dad lived about half a mile away but he didn't want to stay at the same place as his fathers girlfriend (now his wife).

    i digress - i feel you on Bali and Singapore and Malayasia, and and Thailand and OMG seriously i want to go everywhere and if I can't go to Italy or Spain for our honeymoon i might cry. a lot.

    You'll have tons of fun on your trips though! And what a bummer that you're going to be at U of MD and we won't get to meet up! BAH I tell you! BAH! (work schmurk)

  27. I am sooo antsy to travel. There are so many places I want to go. Even though I'm really a horrible traveler. Disrupting my routine is just asking for trouble. But there are so many places I want to see.

    BTW so jealous you get to go to Mexico for work!!

  28. I love to travel too and sadly haven't been out of the US in about a year. I've just been hopping to different states but now that I have a real job, my spontaneous vacations are numbered.

  29. I travel that all that I can! I figure why not, I'm a single girl, what's stopping me?! Just recently got my passport, so I can broaden my horizons! :)

  30. Oooh, that last picture looks amazing!

    I just did a blog post on traveling. I wish I had more funds to travel too!

    BTW, I'm originally from the Cleveland area but now live in southern Cal. What part of OH do you live in? I love finding fellow Ohioans!

  31. The pictures from Malaysia are beautiful! I had no idea!

    You are so lucky to have traveled so much!


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