My first and only traveling destination pre-college:
My family weren't big travelers, so growing up, I didn't explore much past the walls of our humble abode. Well, that is what I liked to call it, because in my seven year old spirit and forty year old mind, a humble abode is what I always longed for. I am that girl who still has not been to Disney World. Would any one like to go with me? Forewarning, I will cry when I see Cinderella's castle.
Anyway, an outsider would look at my childhood home and think we had it all together - that we made quite a fine life for ourselves considering the physical appearance of our home...house, rather. But the truth of the matter was, that this house was merely a vessel, a holding space. It was a facade of a family's truth. Sometimes my face would peek out of the pressed curtains and just wonder what it would be like to be somewhere else - anywhere else in the entire world.
My father remains a very materialistic man, one who values power, notoriety, status, and most of all, the green. So our house reflected that. He would read that statement and maybe get offended, but honestly, maybe not, because I think he would actually agree. And hey, there is nothing wrong with that, we are all guilty of wanting a little extra green here and there. Please don't think I am shaming you. Listen, Black Friday came, and I said, "Hello sweet sales!" (insert a giggle or two). However, when it starts to interfere with what is truly important, what matters most, then it becomes a problem, like it did in my household.
I suppose what I am trying to get at here is that I learned from a young age that it was okay that this house did not serve me the way I initially thought it would. I learned that what I experienced under that roof was only temporary and like everything else in life, it shall pass. Those eighteen years of saddening experiences were not going to define the experiences in my future. I discovered that the ones you once looked up to the most, may not be those people anymore for you, simply because you begin to see their flaws - their imperfections - their humanity, something I refused to mold into for the longest time.
When you step away from the first place your soul traveled to, that first place of being inside your mama's tummy to the house that built you, your eyes are opened to a whole new world. You respect your elders just as you respected them as a child, but you now see them as fellow adults and as equals. We are all human and in one way or another, we are all a little lost inside. Every day of life is a process of reconfiguring things to find that missing piece of our heart's puzzle. So when I moved away, when I traveled off to college, I felt the void that house on King Arthurs' Court left within me. Making the decision to attend school in North Carolina was my first step in broadening my perspective of the world and life in general.
I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay to love being away for this period of time - that it was okay to embrace these new experiences - to not feel guilty for loving a place more than what I always knew. When I mustered up the courage to detach my feet from my Rochester roots, I discovered something incredible - that feeling that a change in me was a comin' and the exhilaration, the excitement, of what was ahead.
Needless to say, college is not easy. So yes, my first experience with traveling was trying. I mean there were days when I would literally say, "GET ME OUT OF HERE!" or "Soph, what is happening?" or my favorite of all, "It's time." Do you know why that is my favorite phrase? Because those two small words signify that you have grown - that you as a human never stop evolving and changing. Therefore, we outgrow places, people, and experiences. So naturally, we crave something different, something more, and something that will challenge us to grow even deeper.
That being said, my second travel destination, post graduation, was in fact the Big Apple. And this time, this destination would be a little less temporary and a little more permanent. I moved to New York City to kickstart my life and career as an adult in the real world. My goodness, my heart skipped a beat just thinking about how I have been here for officially a year. And let me just say, I am in some ways unrecognizable. I'm not necessarily talking about my appearance, but rather, me as a person. Change and growth are inevitable but this city does something to you. At least it did for me.
The amount of times I crumbled but then put myself back together, because you have no other choice in this crazy town of mine, is astounding. There were moments so laughable, so heartbreaking, so monumental, but all moments that were undeniably destined for me to experience. The growth was extremely painful at times, but I am better for it. I made and continue to make so many mistakes, which was an unbelievably hard pill for my perfectionist self to swallow. But, until I allowed myself to be accepting that mistakes are impossible to avoid, that alike every other human on this planet, I, Soph, am the most imperfect little bean.
Fast forward to next travel destination. Well, more like a pitstop if you will...Westtown, NY, quarantine edition. Spring had sprung and the pandemic hit me like a ton of bricks. Let's do a teeny recap, shall we? I met a magical human in the fall of 2019, shortly after making my move to the city. He was something else. He was charming, but most of all he was truer than blue. He was special and at the time, I felt that I didn't deserve special. I knew he would invest in me the way I dreamed a man would. But my fragile heart was not ready. It was not ready to accept the love I knew I deserved. That sun-flavored kind of love, you know? But how could I invest trust and love into a relationship with him if I was incapable of doing that for myself?
So I let him go, and in the meantime, my soul thought it was smart to keep traveling...chasing...things that were either not meant for me, a complete waste of emotional and mental energy, or just plain stupid. Looking back, I was acting a fool. But if I am being transparent with y'all, I never tip-toed into any foolery until then. Then I thought, maybe my soul just needed to explore and freely experiment, even if it ended poorly or not in the way I expected or wanted it to. I still struggle to forgive myself for the little blunders here and there, but I never stop fighting to give myself the grace to keep moving forward.
Ummm yeah. My heart was in a million little pieces and with the pandemic in place, I started to adopt that numb feeling again. In those three or four months of that magical human's absence I was telling you about, I felt regret every single day that I didn't take that chance while I'll clearly had it. I missed his intelligence, his smooth humor, his unconventional sexiness, his attention to detail, his understanding, his compassion...you think I'm lying? I know, I couldn't believe him to exist either. They say we never want the ones who want us until it's too late. They were right...well at least I thought they were.
The clock struck midnight and it was April 2nd, my 23rd birthday. My phone rang and there he was. I wish someone could have felt the flutter throughout my entire body. It is a moment I will never forget. Three months later, onto my third travel destination...love. Love with a man who I now call my home. In case you are wondering, his name is David, but call him Dave. I like to call him Davide, my gorgeous French and Haitian man. Oui oui! Davide and Sophie, the perfect Parisian pair I must say.
So to answer the actual question of this challenge, you ask where would I like to go? The answer is any where with him. And, if you are reading this, my Davide, I haven't traveled to many places, that is true, but my soul somehow found its way and traveled to you.
Now he was supposed to attend his cousin's wedding in France this summer, but of course due to the virus, it was sadly cancelled, so I have a few hopes in store. Hypothetically speaking, let's say Ms. Rona (that is the name I gave to the COVID-19 Virus), surrenders by 2021. And let's say, his cousin reschedules the wedding. It will be my honor to be his plus one and we will explore Paris in June. Now, Ms. Rona may decide that she wants to hang out with us for a little while longer...or a lot while longer...well, that is okay. Because I will be marrying this man. And instead of attending someone else's wedding, one day we will attend our own. We will love Paris in June, as husband and wife.