“We were on a plane back from a insanely fascinating yet horrific weekend in Ho Chi Minh city, my father-in-law had just passed away after a two year battle with leukemia. I’d like to think he won, just not in a way that we prayed for him to. And here I am, in this dinky budget airplane, trying to hold back my lunch from the awful turbulence and I am thinking of my father-in-law.
Thinking of the best way to honor his memory, honor who he was and who he will be to my children, thinking of my husband and our dreams together, thinking of our insane weekend adventure, how travelling is so much a part of us and what we want to do, how we moved halfway across the world to find family and to discover a new part of who we are, a new side of the continent. How all our dreams were suddenly colliding with reality, and we were really geographically able to just fly out of the country for the weekend…that it was exactly how we imagined it to be and so much more.
A little whisper, tentatively testing out the water…forming the words and saying it out loud to my husband, just in case it’s stupid, “I think I’d like to start a travel/lifestyle blog”.
You know, nothing too fancy, just somewhere so we can document all these moments. Somewhere we can leave our print in the world, of who we were and what we loved so that someday when we are old and senile and need something to do on our rocking chairs on the porch in The Villages we can read this, and we can laugh at all the insanely dumb mistakes we made. We can relive this, all the hours of getting lost in a foreign city. Or we can put up tips and hints, things I wish I read before I left. Things I wish I knew. The little things you know, the ones you don’t think about. Like save the plastic bag your blanket came in to use as your fancy personal trash bag, instead of the top 10 things you must know about travelling like don’t wear six inch heels. I want a place like that for me, for me to share, for me to remember, for me to relive.
He just smiled back at me, squeezed my hand and said, “You, honey, can do anything.”
He didn’t say it with fake enthusiasm. Or like a cheer. He said it as a statement. He said it like it was a fact. He said it because he really believed it.
And if a cord of three strings is not easily broken then I’m in.
So here we are…writing my first entry of our blog. Unsure, nervous, a little excited and somewhat amused. I want to tell you all about this weekend, the eighty odd hours we had in Ho Chi Minh and all the things you probably should know before you fly out there. I want to tell you about what it’s like to live so damn close to the equator, and I want to give you a honest opinion of our hotels and the tourist traps we sucker ourselves into going. It’s like trip advisor meets verbal diarrhea.
I want to document these emotions, of how I was so excited and nervous and mind blown and scared. I want to write about the little ladies on the street corners and the back alleys, the ones with kind smiles selling different delicacies and strange concoctions, the smells, the taste, how they welcomed us into their shacks, or a little stool on the side of the street. I want to share all these new little gadgets that will freaking change your life. Little life hacks that make me giggle and make me feel like magic. I want to tell you of the good and the horrific, I want to document, I want to remember.
But most of all I want to honor our journey. I want to honor our souls and I want to honor my father-in-law. The evil beast that is cancer stole his opportunities much too young, much too soon and that is wrong. I want to honor him in where we go, and carry a part of him with us. It was always his favorite part. When we would share photos and tell him our stories and we would laugh and laugh remembering. We will live out his dreams, because those are ours too. And we will write them down, and we will live out loud. And someday, our children’s children will know who we were and what we loved and they will remember to have courage, to dream big, to always always listen to your heart.”
I wrote this a year ago, but I kept on getting hung up on the what ifs and the idea that I might publicly and absolutely embarrass myself. I would write little drafts but never publish it. Replaying and reconsidering this idea of a blog, dreaming and conceiving what it would look like, feel like. Sheepishly laughing and denying when my friends and strangers would ask, will you ever start one?
But mostly I was scared.
Scared that I wasn’t good enough, scared that I had nothing smart or funny to say. Scared that my dreams were a little too big. Scared my voice didn’t matter.
You see, the beauty of writing a “blog” on FB is that it is “safe”. There is nothing I can say on there that won’t be met with the power of a “like” from a circle of trust and there is nothing vulnerable that I can say there that won’t be cushioned with love.
But at 4am in the middle of the week recovering from the most epic jet lag from hell after an amazing roadtrip around France and mindlessly pinning and sharing travel tips while packing for Phuket, it hit me. I really want to do this. I really could do this.
So five days before my 29th birthday, I suck it up and throw my big girl panties on and quickly hit publish.
And on my 30 before 30 list that lives in my head, I mark check next to “Start a travel/lifestyle blog”.
Welcome to wander.kate.
A leap of faith, a little adventure, a curious passion, but mostly, a whole lot of love.
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~ Ray Bradbury