I was born to be an explorer.
As a baby, I climbed all the way to the top of my family’s stand-up piano. From that perspective, it was like climbing Everest. Luckily, when I fell off of it, I managed to fall back down the front, and not over the back, which would’ve meant tumbling down a flight of stairs. I did manage to have stitches put in on both my chin and the back of my head.
When I was 2 or 3 years old, the family dog (a cocker spaniel/poodle mix, just a little bit smaller than me at the time) taught me how to climb the fence into our neighbor’s back yard.
Around age 5 or so, I scared my mom half to death by grabbing the hand of one of her daycare kids and leading her on an adventure around the block. One of the other daycare kids squealed, and we were found out before we made it half-way round.
A year or two after that, I added up all the pennies I had managed to save, enough for a bus fare. I just walked out of the house without telling anyone, got on the bus, and rode it all the way around back to my house (about a 90-minute ride).
For 11th grade (and the second half of 12th grade), I decided to transfer from my suburban Maryland high school to a high school closer into Washington DC for a magnet program. I ended up making closer friends there than I’d ever had before.
The summer between my 11th and 12th grades, I got to have a summer “job” at that school (I say “job” in quotes because it only payed a $120/week stipend). I had to take public transportation there and back, and every week or so, I’d try to find a different way to get home. Once, I almost got stranded because I caught the wrong train. I had to ask a stranger for bus fare to get home, but I got there.
I once went to a tech event in downtown Washington, DC, and had so much fun, I forgot to leave in time for the last bus back to my home in Northern Virginia. I ended up spending the night in the Union Station Amtrak waiting area. When the police came around making sure everyone had a ticket, I told them I had a friend coming in on the first train in the morning and was waiting for them to come in.
In 2008, I took a train from Washington to New York to see a movie in the Staten Island Film Festival. The film, despite the festival’s name, was showing at Brooklyn College, way out on the 2/5 line. I almost got stuck in New York on the way back, because I didn’t know about the redirection caused by subway work. I went outside, hopped in a cab, made it to Penn Station about 10 minutes after my train was supposed to have left. Luckily, it was 30 minutes late.
Less than one year later, I moved to New York, which has been the biggest adventure of my life.
There’s a quote from Doctor Who, when he meets Rose Tyler. He grabs her hand, and she gets a glimpse into his existence:
I can feel it, the turn of the earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it. We’re falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world.
Sometimes, I feel like I can feel it, too. If I close my eyes, I can visualize my position on the earth, or at least within the city. I can imagine that I’m not the one moving, but rather the earth is moving under me. When I fly across the country, the feeling intensifies.
The Doctor tells Rose to forget him, but who can forget such a feeling? I may not be able to visit other worlds, but that’s okay. There’s plenty to explore on the one I have.
Besides, I don’t really a timey-wimey blue box that’s bigger on the inside to get lost on an amazing adventure.
Photo credit: Gratisography