I once had an idea that I would travel non-stop for the rest of my life. I had an idea that I would never settle down. And maybe I won’t ever really, in the traditional sense of the word. But in the strange way that life works out, I’m suddenly and surprisingly happy to settle in to one place for a while.
This morning, my recently-minted husband accepted a contract for a second year with his school in Seoul. Time to pop that $3 champagne we’ve been saving! By which I mean buy some more since we drank it all last weekend. Next week we will be moved into a new and (slightly) larger yet still tiny Korean apartment. We will begin our second year of staying put. But where do we go from there? Since you asked so nicely, and I actually have more than the next 10 minutes of my life planned out for once, I’ll go ahead and tell you.
While Hudson and I have been legally married on paper since November, we have yet to have any kind of ceremony. So, for the month of May we will be in the Philippines on some sort of wedding/honeymoon kind of thing. After saying a few words under a trellis on the beach with no officiant and six of our barefooted friends standing by to watch, we will get drunk and have a beach BBQ. This is the entire extent of “wedding planning” I have done, and I am perfectly content with that. Next up: wander around on beautiful beaches and forget that Korean winter ever happened.
After our second assumingly wonderful year here we will be heading back to the States. Something about how our parents want a wedding they can attend or something like that. So in June 2015, the big wedding party/reception will be held, I’m hoping, at this lovely venue in Black Mountain, North Carolina. There will be music, there will be a little white dress. There will not be bridesmaids, there will not be an aisle, and there certainly will not be a seating chart. There will, however, be lots of booze. My biggest challenge will likely be not getting so hammered that I forget the entire event.
Once we have the chance to spend time with the friends and family we’ve been missing for the past two years, we will be embarking on a road trip across the United States: duration and destination unknown. Both Hudson and I have moved every few years throughout our entire lives. We have lists of places we once called home, not one of which we are sure is the real one. When people ask where I’m from I have to take a deep breath before launching into a story long-ingrained into the muscle memory of my mouth. But all these places in both of our lives are scattered around the eastern half of the United States, from Chicago to North Carolina to Maine. For years I have yearned to make some kind of a life on the west coast, the left coast, the best coast, as they say. And because Hudson and I are disgustingly perfect together, he has long wanted the same thing too. So why not take a few months getting there?
And everything else…
After all the words I’ve written about traveling solo and challenging yourself and discovering a person inside you that you never knew existed, I finally realized something: I don’t have to travel constantly to be a traveler. I already am one. I’ve learned so many things about myself and the world in the last four years. Most importantly, I’ve learned what I actually want, and that that changes. And I learned that once you figure out whatever that is, you do it, you find it, you make it happen. I will always get the itch, and I will always want to move and I will always want to travel. But I’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to have a few matching plates, and dinner parties with friends, and I remember why so many people cherish that stability they have back home: because it feels so damn good to be loved.
So, after the big road trip/second honeymoon Hudson and I are gonna pick a place out west to keep our plates. It won’t be big and it won’t be fancy, but it will be ours. We will still travel, and probably still move every year or two. But staying put doesn’t seem so bad when I think of all the things we have in store. There are so many more adventures to come, but for now I think the biggest adventure on my horizon is marriage.