Growing up the only people I knew that traveled outside of the U.S. were missionaries. And my parents went on a cruise to Mexico for their honeymoon. At a young age I remember feeling conflicted because I wanted to live in a different country but that meant I had to be a missionary. The three major flaws in my missionary plan were
- I really wanted to wear make up
- Long skirts and only long skirts were not cool
- I knew a lot of missionaries went to Africa and I had no desire to go there. My family could only camp for one night maximum before we were assailed with rain, noisy traffic, and annoyance overload at no one taking showers (especially my smelly 8 year old brother). No way could I do the whole hut thing.
I told my parents about my predicament. I could feel my heart longing for some out there adventure but I would have to say thanks but no thanks. I can’t remember what they said. They probably found my fears amusing and I was their child. I wouldn’t even get that far along the decision process to a point of volunteering for a 5 year camping trip.
Fast forward 10 years when I start dating a guy from Africa. I quickly verified that he had not “actually” grown up in the bush. Luckily, by this point, I knew there were big cities in Africa where people wore shorts. In fact, this fashion guru had bright neon yellow shorts that told me that Zimbabwe may be stuck in the 1980’s but, at least we weren’t dealing with tribal loin cloths. I was suddenly a huge Africa fan. And now half of my family is from Africa.
Last Christmas we traveled to South Africa for the second time. (I’ve also been to Zimbabwe once which shed light on what I had thought we’re just Sam quirks. Turns out everyone in Zim still wears neon, catches a baseball with bare hands, and drives like there are no traffic lights). We stayed in a sleepy beach town and I wore make up most days.