(My travel companion and I decided to meet stateside, in Boston, before flying overseas. What a beautiful city.)
One would think it might be easy to lose her identity when thrown into a city and culture dissimilar to her own, specifically a city booming with excitement, ideas, beautiful people and breathtaking views. I imagined Boston might make me feel swallowed up, my small-town self overwhelmed by the greatness, the beauty, the busyness. But, as I've found in the last 24 hours, in dissimilarity, it is most easy to discover who you are not. Discovering who you are not, and tripping across new experiences that ignite your creativity and passion, makes discovering who you are much simpler.
I am not the label-wearing, glamazon knockout sashaying through the doors of Burberry on Newbury Street.
I am not the rosy-cheeked mother, wrangling a stroller and several curious tots through downtown Boston.
I am not the foodie, waiting anxiously to get into the hip new restaurant.
I am not the power-woman, conquering paved sidewalks in heels and a skirt, barking commands over her cell phone.
But, there is a woman drifting through Boston Common in a ruffled grey dress and pale pink cardigan, lugging a Target grey-blue purse large enough to carry a yak. She's eavesdropping on conversations surrounding her-some in languages she doesn't understand. The foreign, unable-to-be-understood conversations are better, she thinks. The woman shamelessly photographs every church, shop window and sweet vignette, without apologizing. Later, she's on the rooftop terrace of the hotel, her laughter rolling like waves, teasing her travel companion...indulging in a second glass of alcohol, and forgoing all worries that it will go straight to her ass.
That woman is wildly happy. I am that woman. That is traveling Bethany.
Traveling Bethany is incredible, and feeling fantastic enough to say it. Traveling Bethany doesn't worry about work, or school or finances. She simply experiences, explores. She always remembers to thank the cabbie, and tell the bellboy to have a marvelous day. She smiles at passersby, tells other women they look fantastic and that yes, they should buy that sweater. If Real-Life Bethany channeled Traveling Bethany on a more regular basis, reality might be much more enjoyable.
At least for those that surround her.
Note: A giant thank you for all the sweet send-offs I've received as of late! You are completely wonderful. If you e-mailed me...I promise I'm working on responding. Slowly, but surely. Yes, even to you, Grandma. :)