Dear mom and dad,
I know at times my traveling seems irrational. I know you worry about where I am going to sleep, what I am going to eat and if I am even alive. I know at times you may think I am running away from “growing up” and I know sometimes it seems like I am doing everything in my power to avoid one day using the degree you watched me work so hard to attain. I know you worry that one day my hard work in school will become pointless and my degree will soon be obsolete and that I will end up flipping burgers at McDonalds.
I know you think I am running away from that one scarring heartbreak. I know you worry that I am running away from failed friendships and dead end jobs. I know that you worry I will not come home. And I know, finally, that you worry that you are losing your little girl…for good.
The truth is, the upbringing you have provided me has pushed me towards the greater good. Your protection, your willingness to forgive and your hard work to provide better than you once had has pushed me to want to give that to the people around me. Your hard work, your passion for each other, your dedication to give me better has pushed me to do the same, for myself and share it with the ones around me.
I haven’t traveled much of the world. I have only seen a fraction of what those whose paths I have crossed have seen. But, in the short time I have been on the road and for as little of the world I have seen – I do my best to share the love that you have shown me. I have seen sadness and I have seen hopelessness. I have seen the world turn its back on people. I have seen sadness. I have seen hunger. I have seen heartbreak. The world has shown me the ugliness it holds. I have cried myself to sleep because I can’t feed all the people who are dying of hunger and that the majority of people I meet everyday will not received half the love I have in my lifetime. My heart has broken because I can’t offer forgiveness to those who want it most. My heart is heavy for those who are stuck in the city they were born in, working harder than I will ever have to just to put food on the table – they are prisoners.
I want you to know I am happy. I want you to know that I am not running away from you, the mistakes I have made or refusing to grow up. I am running toward happiness, peace and freedom. Although I am desperately clawing my way away from the American dream and trying to find whatever it is that will reward me with eternal happiness, home will always be home. I am where I am today because you held my hand, let me lean on you, you carried me at points and you let me go. I want better because you told me I deserved it.
But, with all that being said – travelling has taught me to be thankful. It has taught me to appreciate the little things and realize how blessed I am for the big things and to recognize the little things. It is because of your selflessness of releasing me from your grip that someone, somewhere will feel love because you have taught me to share it. Someone somewhere will get a second chance because you taught me to see beyond people’s shortcomings and I am able to see that people are innately good. In you being my teacher, I have learned the skills to teach others how to love, forgive, to speak, to be free and hopefully instill in them, the wonderment and freeing power of travel.
Love your little girl,
Reprinted with permission from OneGirl.OneJourney.