a case of local wanderlust.


Ever gone on a marvelous vacation and dreaded coming home to go to work? Or have you spent a week in the woods, enjoying the beauty and breath of nature, only to return home and feel out of place in a smog-covered concrete jungle?

Yeah. The first one happened to me a few weeks ago after I returned home from spending a few days in Mexico. The second one happened to me when I came home last week from an overnight camp in Wisconsin. I have a feeling I’m going to continue feeling this way all summer.

I’ve even unintentionally missed my turns/exits twice in the past 24 hours while driving home and ended up enjoying the ‘new’ routes. I have no problem being in a car if I’m on scenic highways or country roads, taking in new sights.

Mexico was just what we needed — buffets for nearly every meal, time to relax in the water, building relationships with friends, and no worries about bills. Camp was also what I needed, in a different way: enjoying every meal with a lively table, waking up to the sunrise and not my alarm clock, sitting on the beach, spending time with a hundred kids thirsting for love, and being overwhelmed at how much all these people had a love for God and others. I came home feeling incredibly refreshed and grateful for everything in my life. I ran into a friend the night after I returned and she commented on how chipper and happy I seemed. The week was meant to be for the kids, but it impacted me so much. It’s amazing how much a week where you are supposed to be teaching kids ends up changing you so much.

One of the things I learned during the week is that people are always generous and accommodating if you ask nicely. Last year, I was afraid to let them know I was vegetarian because I didn’t want to seem picky when I’d be offered free meals all week. I spent the week picking on fruit and lettuce until I finally gave in and had a little meat. This year, I hesitantly asked one of the servers during out first meal if he had some penne pasta cooked without meat in it (everyone was receiving pasta with meat). He asked if I was a vegetarian, and I said yes. (I should have told him I was mostly vegan.) He was very kind of my request, remembered me the rest of the week, and offered some vegetarian items to me during meals that centered around meat. However, that meant most of my food came from bread, pasta, cheese, and some iceberg lettuce with tomatoes. Camp means a lot of chicken, burgers, and pepperoni pizza. My body wasn’t too thrilled with the lack of vegetables (I was incredibly stuffed up inside), but at least I didn’t eat meat! And they were very nice about it! Next year, I’m either telling them I’m vegan (and seeing what they can even come up with) or I’ll bring in my own food. I shouldn’t feel like I’m inconveniencing others. By doing that, I’m just inconveniencing myself.

Anyway, after a week of getting around by using only my feet, eating every meal with a happy group of people, and no television in sight, suburban Chicago was a drag. Getting into a car, sitting in traffic, eating alone most of the time, and spending money felt so numbing. I wanted to get back in the woods. I wanted to surround myself with all my friends for every meal. I wanted to simply walk across the street to get food or supplies. I wanted to hang my clothes out on the line to dry. I wanted to breathe.

This week moved as slow as Chicago rush-hour traffic (and a good portion of the week included rush hour traffic). Monday afternoon was long. Tuesday afternoon was long. Wednesday afternoon was long. I was in bed by 9pm. Thursday is trickling by.

Tomorrow, my husband and I are heading to Ohio for a wedding with a few stops along the way. When we were looking on the map for a different route to travel instead of the usual highway through Indianapolis, he realized how close we were to other states and suggested we spend more time traveling together to little spots in different states. Since I love to travel and explore, I was excited at this suggestion. We have picked a few weekends the rest of this summer for mini day- and weekend-trips to nearby states. I’m excited for this, and at the same time, it’s making me itch for tiny house even more! I’m very anxious to get out of the Chicago suburbs.

But for now, I am here. And instead of complaining about how much I hate the traffic and inconvenience of ‘convenience’, I’m just going to keep enjoying the little things, look forward to living out each day, stay true to myself, and appreciate what I have here while I still have it. Well, I will try!

Have you ever had an increasing itch to leave and explore and yet, felt impatiently stuck about where you were? What did you do about it?


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