Ten years ago I was seventeen. I was a junior in high school, who was beyond excited to go to Europe. It would be my first time. Most of the three years leading up to my junior year, were spent in the usual, “awkward everyone will notice my pimples and love handles if I wear this shirt” way. This was a real opportunity to travel outside my own little Taft world. I wanted to see arches, bridges, buildings older than my native country. Mr. Kopp set up this ten and half day whirlwind trip. We stopped in England, France, and Italy. Most of those ten days were spent laughing, walking, and laughing. I made it a point to take as many mental pictures as possible. When I close my eyes, I still see our hotel rooms, my goofy roommates, those wonderful arches, and the cities that were kind of enough to have me.
Ten years and nine countries later and I’m happily married. A man of 27 years, who knows what he wants to be when he grows up. I want my wife and I to live abroad, professional expats whose day job is adventure. The romantics involved with traveling no matter how grueling it can be haven’t lost its grip on me. When I look in the mirror the 17 year old with a souvenir barrette on looks back. The hard hat I wear, I tell myself is just temporary. When I come home to my dear Ina, she reminds me the present is just that, the present. The present time swiftly drifts into the past.
Her and I are plenty ready to confront the future. We'll squash our oppressors, we'll welcome our ally's, and be charitable the to less fortunate. Were those people that will make it. We'll make you proud.
So cheers to the next ten years. May they be better than the last!