I always knew I wanted to travel places. Ever since I was a kid, although still a kid I am, I wanted to get up and go. It wasn't just the restlessness of sitting still that drove me crazy but the curiosity that I have possessed since as long as I can remember. Sure kids will be curious, and get lost in the grocery store as soon as a back was turned. But I was a little different. I can remember sitting on the floor of my parent's bedroom, sifting through all the encyclopedias, national geographic magazines and history books we had in the house, planning my adventures.
When it was time to go out and play, mom would be doing her prized gardening work while I would be quietly sneaking through the brush. I'd squat down behind the honeysuckle waiting to capture a shot of a kangaroo with my polaroid camera dad bought me. After all, that day I was in Australia. Then I would shriek to high heaven, startling my mother to death. She would bust through the bushes, terrified out of her mind while I would be rolling in the dirt crying out "The Black Mamba bit me. Save yourself!.
As much as I would like to say that was my last safari, later on I jumped into the kiddie pool and was tragically eaten by a hippo. At that point my mom, who was clearly fed up of tackling through rose bushes, told me to go inside to change and stay inside until dinner.
When dinner time arrived, and I had not, my dad would search the house for me. He knew I was off somewhere, still playing. Eventually he would find me in the basement with a flashlight taped to my bike helmet and mom's wash-line tied around my waist. It was obvious I was spelunking in the catacombs of Rome! I was too busy for dinner. Dad wouldn't seem to understand.
After washing my hands, dad's little spelunker would take a seat at the dinner table to say grace. Even though throughout dinner I was reminded to not talk with food in my mouth, I would tell the family of my adventures I had that day. All the while, my parents and brother would listen to my stories, uttering phrases such as "Well, that sounds scary" and "That must have been fun" and "Could you pass the peas?". And although they were being nice, I knew they didn't quite understand what it all meant to me. And that was okay.
When I got older, even though they still did not quite understand, they accepted that I was going to be "off somewhere". And even though I wouldn't be home for dinner anymore, I would always send an e-mail or make a phone call to tell them a story or two, just like I used to. The only real difference is that now I didn't have to pass the peas.