On Adventures and Callings and Remembering Who I Am

I have recently decided to get my TEFL certification and teach English abroad.

You may be thinking, “Why, Claire? After all the homesickness you felt in Paris?”

To which I say, “Good thing I don’t plan on teaching in Paris.”

I don’t love Paris. But I do love traveling.

Ever since I got home, ever since I got settled and made a few friends and figured out my finances a bit, got into a pattern, as it were, I was eager to hit the road again. I don’t think that’s just wanting to get out of my hometown. I love this place. But I’ve been itching to make the next step in my life.

I thought at first it was a relationship. I was planning on turning that into the next adventure, using that as the deciding factor. I was committed to it, and I was excited. But I also felt there was part of me that was not being fed, that I slowly tried to starve out of existence in order to make this work.

I’m glad it didn’t.

Shortly after the relationship fell apart, I found a catalog in my dad’s mailbox for a travel agency/bike tour company. It was full of gorgeous photographs from all over the  world. And I found myself lying in my bed, turning the pages in a vague dream state, drooling over cerulean bays lined with reed fishing boats and palm trees, dirt paths through vineyards and cypress, and the brooding Cliffs of Mohr.

And that small, starved corner of my soul lifted its head and smiled.

And I suddenly realized what I had always known and never truly admitted. I had found my calling.

It doesn’t matter how many different things I’m good at, how many artistic inklings I could follow, writing, drawing, painting, photography, cinema, even baking. None of them set me on fire the way the open road does, the way a new city with new cuisine and a new language does. I feel at home in a train station, I can navigate an airport like I was born to it, and watching countryside roll by from a bus window feels like a visual lullaby.

I feel most myself when I’ve been on the road. There’s nothing like travel to root you in yourself.

So here’s to the next adventure, here’s to whatever’s around the corner.

Here’s to chasing that horizon and never stopping til I catch it.

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