The Wide World

I find I’m feeling a lot of feelings as our big adventure approaches—daunted, excited, anxious, incredibly grateful, vaguely removed from the whole situation (as if this thing I’m talking about is happening to someone else entirely), hassled by the sheer inconvenience of fitting ALL THE THINGS (bills! taxes! kindergarten placements!) of the next five months into the days left before we go—but underlying all of it is this sense of wonder, like, whoa, are we really doing this?

It appears we are.

And, sure, it’s a great time for our family. Fi’s bright and curious, flush with stamina and freshly vaccinated, and we’re in those last few magical months of that sweet, anything goes, no-worries-about-missing-preschool period before elementary education begins. Dan and I have an awesome employer and awesome clients, respectively, who support this extended leave and have generously said they’ll take us back in August. And, in Covid-land (knocking all the wood, crossing all the fingers), things could be worse? Travel restrictions are lifting, quarantine requirements loosening and most of our destinations have high vaccination rates. So, yeah, let’s do this!

But it still feels pretty unbelievable. Because my world doesn’t feel big enough for this trip. This world I’ve burrowed deep into over the last two years—the tight triangle of my immediate family, my little home, Fi’s little school across the park, the playground, the four-block radius where we venture for takeout, comic books, block parties and the occasional glass of wine on a patio—this is a small world!

But a wider world is still out there, as I understand it. And not just deeply troubled one I’ve been doomscrolling through for months, but places with a little more optimism and appeal. Places accessible via planes and trains and ferries and camper vans (!). Places with landmarks you’ve never heard of and delicacies you’ve never tried and charming histories you’ve never learned before. Places where you order something a little mysterious because you can’t quite decipher the menu and ask for directions a lot. Strangers to strike up conversations with and strange and wonderful new places to see.

Because despite the limiting and comforting and unavoidable claustrophobia of the last two years, there is a wide world out there. And at some point I’m going to have to get myself back out into it. So here goes…

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