She thought Beanie Babies were going to save her life.
Swathed in a way-too-warm Christmas sweater, shoes tied via Bunny Ear Technique, equipped with a plastic bag slowly tearing from a surplus of Beanie Babies, Molly, circa 1996, had her eyes fixed on the front door. As she skated across the blue living room carpet and twisted the cold metal of the door handle, she turned her chin over her shoulder toward her family, sitting quietly in the living room.
“I’m running away,” she said with a tinge of poisonous adventure.
Before any words could fall out of the mouths of two veritably boiling and bewildered parents, Molly threw the door open and sailed across the threshold of home - the threshold of possibility - and into a wide-open world. Fearlessly, she sprinted across the grass. Frost crawled its way down her throat and gathered in her lungs as she gulped down breath after thrilled breath of fresh air. Raw air. It was like nothing she’d ever tasted in her four long years of life; sure, she’d been outside, but she’d never run away before. It was the sprinkle of adventure that made it flourish with flavor. Like adding sugar to lemonade.
Within seconds, two strong arms fastened around her waist, lifted her into a forced embrace, and carried her back into the house. Didn’t even make it to the fence.
“What exactly did you think you were doing, Molly? Why do you have Beanie Babies?” a hurried voice demanded as she was set down on the too-familiar blue carpet.
“Well,” she started, out of breath, “I was running away. And I was going to sell my Beanies for money on the streets.”
You could say I’ve always been prone to wander. For the record, I bet my Beanies would’ve made me some serious cash on the Toddler Black Market.
Since I was able to understand the meaning of “adventure,” the very word has become a part of my soul. Seventeen years after ingesting its meaning, I wake up each day with eyes, hands, and feet that simply crave, hunger, lust for adventure.
I’ve been trying to run away my whole life, searching for that adventure. Any time I have the chance to go somewhere for a while, I don’t think twice. It’s not because of any situation, by any means. I adore my family more than anything in my life, I have wonderful friends, and I’m from a quiet little town that’s known for its cheese and smelly mill. It’s home, and I love it.
But there’s a compass inside of me. I imagine that where my heart should be, a compass is instead. I feel it rippling underneath my skin, pumping curiosity through my veins, begging for me to listen.
“You need to go in a direction far away from where you stand,” it tells me with every rising sun.
Of course, that petrifies me. Just like when I was four, I’ve never made it past the now symbolic fence. Something stifles my confidence-- something freezes my sprinting steps. I often stop just shy of the barricade, separating me from the comforts of home and the wide-open world ahead of me. It’s always been a battle between what I know I should do and what I feel other people want me to do. And so, here I sit, inside the bubble of home that I’ve never been able to osmose through.
My compass tells me to do otherwise. It tells me to backpack across Europe. It begs me to apply for an internship with DoSomething.org in New York (which is the most recent inspiration for writing these words). It tells me to get involved with Pencils of Promise in Ghana. It prods me to fly to Seattle and write the book I’ve always dreamed of writing. It urges me to travel somewhere - anywhere - to lift up the people I am most passionate about: those who are homeless (which I talk about a lot on my home blog).
I crave to wander. I crave to be around creative, lively wanderers. I crave to live this life I’ve been graced with to help the lost wanderers. I crave the excitement of taking those gulps of raw air and new experiences, sprinting full speed toward a desired goal.
My compass can’t and won’t rest until I satisfy my adventurelust. My wanderlust.