That September Itch

When I was a kid, people would ask the inevitable, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" The only occupation that ever came to mind was an international correspondent. I've always wanted to circle the globe, experiencing cultures as people really lived...and follow in the footprints of Earnest Hemmingway.

At heart, I'm a traveler.

My mom learned long ago to keep my address in pencil. In fact, until recent years, people told me I had more addresses than a circus performer! Thanks to a houseguest I had this summer who was on tour with Cirque du Soleil, I can attest...I wasn't that bad. But I'm sure it was close!

Truth be told, what I'd really prefer is to have no address at all. One day I want to close the door on my home, kiss the cat goodbye, and get lost on the backpacker trail for a year...or more.

I yearn for adventures in far flung destinations.

For some reason, this urge becomes especially overwhelming in September. Maybe it's the imprinting from my student days...and the looming school season ahead. For me, September represented one last chance to craft a noteworthy response when asked, "What did you do this summer?"

Looking my passport, it's obvious that September cat scratch itch has never left me.

Fast forward to last month. I was restless. I toyed with taking weekend trips to New York, San Francisco, Vancouver...or anywhere, really. Points laid out on a map before me....yet something kept holding me back. I didn't have enough time...or it wasn't exotic enough.

Then one night...I was hanging out with some friends and the bossman handed me my paycheck. As he passed it to me, I was told, "Be back by the end of the month." I thought that was strange, but didn't dwell on it. Absentmindedly, I stuck the check in my bag and never gave it another thought. The next morning I finally looked...and the figure was double what I was expecting!

Tears welled up as those words came back to me, "Be back by the end of the month...."

Three days later, I was on a journey half way around the world.