Monday, April 5, 2010

How I Caught the Travel Flu

Many people explain the sudden, desperate need to travel as a "bug." But due to the feverish pitch, shakes, and sweats I get after spending too many days at home (home being a relative term between Chicago, Indy, and Arkansas), I would rather refer to it as a flu.

Which makes me wonder - when did I catch this wonderful illness? I believe I must go back to 2000, when I was invited, as a cheerleader for the Cathedral Fighting Irish, to travel to Ireland and perform in the millenium St. Patrick's Day parade. That was enough of an opportunity to make all 4 sufferable years at that school worthwhile.

When I think back to that time in my life, I was awkward, unsure how to find my place in a group of twenty girly girls and their mothers. Perhaps that's why I noticed so much about the country. I remember my fascination with the flower stands on every downtown corner in Dublin. I remember, in a smaller Irish town, seeing a newspaper with the Spice Girls on the front, thinking maybe it wasn't so different than home. I remember the castles and the cliffs and the beer and the green hills and the small twisty roads. I think I can even remember the moment I fell in love.

I believe it was in Dublin, on our tour bus, as I was taking pictures of what I saw in the city. I remember seeing a wedding chapel in a corporate building, and parked beside it was a giant flatbed semi with hundreds of kegs stacked up. And I just thought, what a lovely place. That's when I knew that there were lots of lovely places, places much more lovely than Indianapolis, in my future, to be discovered. All I had to do was find a way to afford my adventures and endure long plane rides to new homefronts.

And here I find myself, in my life, at the place I always knew I was supposed to be. With a comfortable plane pillow and plenty of Dromomine.

Another note about Ireland. As fascinated and bright eyed as I was in the country, I never felt more proud of myself, and where I was from. Lots of teenage boys who encountered us would flirt and fawn and make me feel, at the awkward age of 16, like a supermodel. They had never seen a cheerleader before. And I remember as we walked along Dublin, in our cheerleading uniforms, dancing and cheering to our fight song, all the little kids who had never seen a girl from America, smiling up at us with admiration, and I felt like a celebrity. So really, Ireland was the beginning of a more confident, wordly me. It is a beautiful place.

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