I have always loved to travel. There are a million reasons for that. The most obvious is escapism. I have been aware of my desire for escape for quite some time. Traveling gives me a feeling of being safe. Nobody knows me. My abusers are far away. My daily routine headaches are far away. It is a completely new existence.
I have traveled with abusers before. I lived in other countries with my mother and stepfather. But I had left my father far behind in the U.S. And that was a huge relief. I felt so much safer. There were no weekends or Wednesday evenings of pure hell. And in all honestly, my mother and stepfather were wimps. Since I was a teenager at that point, I could stand up to them. And I did. So this probably reinforced my love of travel.
And there were some trips in my late teens and twenties that were certainly revealing. With the constant need for safety and security on hold, I became someone I rarely was … me. And I have to admit, or maybe you guessed, the real me is a bit wide open. I don’t hold back much. If there was a room filled with a thousand people, my goal was to meet most of them.
I used to attend international conferences for a volunteer organization. A typical day would consist of breakfast with some Texans and Japanese delegates (an interesting combination), lunch with some Brazilians, dinner with some Estonians, a party where I danced with a large contingent of South Americans (love the Salsa), followed by a late night coffee shop talk about politics with some folks from Lebanon. That was my kind of day. I rarely slept at these conferences, and I was rarely tired. There were too many people to meet. There were too many cultures to explore. There were too many opportunities to learn, talk, connect, have fun, and I rarely missed any of it. I actually feel more energized writing these words.
Sometimes my American friends would join me. And they always said the same thing. You are a different person. Even before I was in recovery, I knew it was the truth. I knew I was the real me. They probably thought the opposite. How could someone be who they weren’t most of the time? That would be the equivalent of prison, right? Right.
So lately, I have been in touch with my inner child. I think my defender is granting me more access to her and I appreciate it. And my inner child is letting me know that she is that “conference girl”. She is the one that wants to know everyone, talk with everyone, and dance with everyone. She is wide open. She has no fear of the unknown. She wants to experience life. She doesn’t want to hold back or hide away. And she doesn’t even need that much sleep. She wants to live life no holds barred.
And that’s how I want to live. There are some things that may not be realistic right now. I can’t travel the world as a single mother of two small children. Of course, there is always a way, but I don’t want to try that. I do want to live wide open though. I want to meet people, dance the salsa and go with the flow, even if it means riding in a car down the streets of Copenhagen with a bunch of Estonians talking about how their greatest export is their women. (They weren’t talking about trafficking. The men were complaining that their beautiful women keep marrying guys in other countries. The women were laughing at them.)
But I can see some of that wide open me in this new business. I am operating from a place of low fear (not no fear). I am putting myself out there like never before. I am working with clients from all over the world (and you know I love that). And I am having conversations, endless conversations, about life, love and finding our way back home. While I am not completely there, this is almost as wide open as I would get when I traveled.
So now my inner child is asking me to take it to the next level, to drop some of these desperate needs for security and find my way back to wide open in my daily life. And I am wide open to the suggestion. I am not sure what it entails yet, but something tells me I will know. Something tells me my inner child isn’t going to be quiet about it. There isn’t much she is quiet about. And that is what I love about her.