Today is a special day.
My love of travel began at a young age, thanks to someone very important to me. And even though she passed on 10 years ago, August 2nd will always be her birthday. When I was 8, I visited family in Sweden with my Mormor. Some families use Nana, Grammy, Oma, but my Mormor always had us use the Swedish word. Together we went to North Carolina, Oregon, and Disneyland—but the trip that made me see the world differently, was Sweden.
Because we were visiting family at almost all of these places, I had come to experience travel as if living like a local. In Sweden I went to school with my cousin, shopped at the grocery stores, and slept in my great aunt’s house. Today, even still, I’m proud to say I don’t vacation, but I travel. Most tourist-y aspects are not as great as the people you meet along the way. I am living in the Czech Republic for a year, and although I know it might be hard at times I know my Mormor is with me in spirit. She always has been.
Unfortunately, I was the only grandkid with such diverse travel experiences. I’m not sure if my younger brother would feel the way I do about the world if he had the experiences I did, but I think there is something innate and intangible that makes travel a necessity for a few people. I call it the “wanderbug.”
As I have recently rediscovered, being in unfamiliar places leaves me no option but to be brave, which is when I feel closest to her. I felt her with me when I was lost on the metro my second day here, and I feel her when I am in class with my friends. In travel, I found the greatest gift–She dared me to live the life I wanted.
Mormor always had me keep a journal while I traveled, and I don’t think this blog would exist without her. Nonetheless, I can’t help but feel a bit of serendipity as I write—the piano class next door is playing Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera. It always reminded me of my childhood, because Phantom of the Opera is the only Broadway show I’ve ever seen, and I was a child when I went. I didn’t understand the performance very well, but I felt the music. And sometimes, feeling is just enough.