The Hot Mess Behind HMT
There is a picture of me as a toddler somewhere zoned out with a chicken nugget in my mouth. My mom says she "lost" it but if I had to guess she's just hugely embarrassed. Still this picture is a great metaphor for the person I grew up to be. Here are some worldly examples of my being categorically unqualified to write a travel blog:
- At age 9, our teacher (in Maryland) told us that Pennsylvania was above us and Virginia was below us and I was confused about Pennsylvania being in the sky for way, way too long.
- If it is in the sky and you’ve driven there, do cars fly ?
- At 15 years old, I asked a Jamaican waiter how he learned English so well.
- I thought his rad accent was indicative of some cool island language.
- ...After writing that I did a quick Google to confirm Jamaica is an island.
- I thought Islam was a country... when I was in college.
- Imagine, under these circumstances, taking an ‘Introducing Islam’ GenEd course. I spent the first two classes wondering where Islam was on the map.
- A few people said in response to the above fact “oh, well they do call it ‘the nation of Islam,' I can see how that’d be confusing.’” No, I had never heard of that. I just thought it was a country. Don't ask why I don't know how this happened.
- At age 20, a friend’s Aunt told me her son met his fiancé in Barcelona. I told her “That’s amazing, I’d just love to visit France.”
- At age 21 a colleague told me “I am going to see the Moscow Orchestra this weekend” to which I replied, “Oh, I didn’t realize you had planned a trip to Canada.”
- A lot to unpack here.
- As a full adult I received a 13% on a “Where are the USA states” quiz, having lived in the U.S. my entire life.
Seeing all of these things together is a painful but accurate depiction of my impossibly charming combination of obliviousness to my surroundings, lack of geographical knowledge, and an inability to think before I speak. Triple threat they call me.
Becoming a Traveler
Around age 19, I started dating a Norwegian hunk of beef, which led to my learning where Norway was on the map, among other cool geographical knowledge. This started getting me interested in lust I mean wonderlust.
Then, work started sending me to all of these great places at seasonally appropriate times (like Chicago in the summer, New Orleans in the spring, San Diego…well pretty much anytime of year). This is not to be confused with my earlier business trips to Chicago in the winter, Phoenix in the summer, and Detroit...well pretty much any time of year (sorry not sorry, Detroit).
It helped me realize I liked traveling and meeting new people. I liked trying new food and new beer. I liked seeing a picture of gorgeous Norwegian mountain and thinking, “I was there, I threw up on that mountain.”
Now I LOVE to travel, and I’ve been stumbling from city to city ever since. Still, one thing hasn’t changed and I've grown to just embrace it: I’m still a steaming hot mess.