Friday, September 16, 2011

The Push-Pin World

Sometime in the long, boring stretch of being at home with little to do, I pulled out my world map, thinking of how fun it would be to color in all of the cities and countries that I've been to. It'll be even better now that I've traveled, I thought!

I don't think that I have ever, in my life, realized how huge the world is before. I mean, obviously it's big. We learn in elementary school that it's nearly 8,000 miles around, but what does that mean?

It means that there are scores of places that we haven't been. That's right. Scores. As in, four score and twenty. As in, way more than I have fingers and toes to count on.

I remain astonished by how huge and how diverse the world is, and also how I care about that. This is basically my one year anniversary of loving the world and all of the beautiful difference in it, and yet in all twenty of my years I have experienced so little of it.

Still, I'm blessed to have friends who can come and put in push-pins of where they are from and where they have been, making that map on my wall look far more interesting than if it were left up only to me. But even with their help, lots of it remains intact, without any holes going through the cheap, colorful paper.

I want to give so much of myself to so many parts that I fear I won't really be able to give enough of myself to all of it. I want a push-pin that says "I've lived and loved and will always come back to here for the people and places that I love" in every corner. I want to go to all of the touristy places and have a sticker suitcase, but, even more, I want to go to the places tourists never hear about. I want to know the people who aren't tourists, and I want them to take me to their places. To the spots that make their part of the world their own.

Or at least a part of me wants it. The other part of me wants to stay on my couch googling photos of places I could be on my laptop with wifi, in my apartment with electricity and air conditioning and a dishwasher.

I'm hungry for more of what I'm scared of. Give me a box of thumbtacks and send me to an empty corner of my map. Even if it's only so that I can come back, push one through the cardboard, and have another speck of cultural color on the wall of my home.