Today I talked to my baby cousin Colleen. She's 24, has a degree, and works full time but to me baby always comes first. We grew up like sisters, spending countless hours on the weekends and over the summers doing nothing and everything together.
She's on her way to Europe for a few weeks and wanted to say bye before she left. It's a bit of a habit that we have, even when life has gotten in the way of regular calls.
For just a moment I was wistful for my single days. I had been talking to my mom, lamenting the fact that this was my first time without a valid passport since I was 18. That's not so bad, but there is no need for a passport anywhere in on the horizon, when the phone rang.
My old passport is well worn and full of stamps. Ten years ago this month I got on my first plane to Europe. Two weeks of learning about social justice in Ireland. That trip kicked off visits to 25 countries over the next 4 years. Trips where I learned about the world and myself at the same time.
In those trips and resulting tales I inspired Colleen. After my mom she was the most interested in my pictures and stories. When Coleen started planning her first semester abroad she called me full of excitement. We talked packing, itineraries and hair. I visited Nice through her stories and photos. Then she thanked my for getting her inspired about studying abroad. And helping her mom to see that she would come home in one piece.
Now she's on another trip, making memories, ready to take pictures and bring back stories. I am excited for the experiences she will have.
I love my husband. My son. Our home. My life overall.
I also don't spend money I don't have.
But there was a little piece of me that wanted to jump on the plane with her and spend three weeks exploring.