Wondering About Wandering

Brianna Kramer is a high school English teacher at Oceanside Collegiate Academy. She enjoys running and writing in her spare time. She admires her dad, Brian, most in life, and strives to be more like him every day. She lives in the Charleston area with her boyfriend, Nick, and two dogs.

Growing up, I had never given travel much thought. My parents had never been out of the country and I lived in a small, two-stoplight town. Consequently, my idea of traveling was going to Ocean City, Maryland, for a family vacation, or to a nearby town for a cross country meet. It’s sad, but true. And my initial idea of traveling remained the same until I was in college. Again, sad but true.

When I first attended college, I was still “in a relationship” with my high school boyfriend (whatever that means at that age). He attended a state school, with a reputation for partying, while I attended a Catholic University, which was dry; our schools were about two hours apart, so we were in a “short” distance relationship and living entirely dierent lifestyles (not a good mix). Naturally, things fell apart as the school year progressed, and before long, I realized that “in a relationship” was only according to me and facebook.

Despite that I took him for granted in high school, I attempted to save our “short” distance relationship. Being one year older and in college made me suddenly view our relationship as a serious relationship. One that meant something to me. One that I was going to salvage and not let crash and burn. us, I insisted on meeting up “to talk” when we were both home from school. He agreed to do so. us, though we were ocially broken up (according to me, him, and Facebook), we met up at a local coee shop, or a nearby park to talk.

Oddly enough, I can remember these get togethers well. On one occasion, we met up at a local coee shop. My hair was down, and long at the time, and I was wearing a white peasant top and light blue jean shorts. He stated “you look good,” and oered to get me a drink when I arrived. I sipped on my medium iced coee as we talked about life in general. How our parents were, how we were, and how school was. Once both the conversation and coee went dry, we departed. I can still remember feeling confused and frustrated when we did. I set out to salvage our relationship, not to talk about life, and so I was a failure.

The next time we met up at my parents house. I don’t recall anything leading up to his final words, but I have a ashbulb memory of his final words. We were outside, in my parents’ yard. He was walking to his car, which was parked where the front yard met the road. In order to avoid feeling like a failure for a second time, I rummaged up the courage to ask about our relationship. I don’t recall what I asked him, but I vividly remember him saying: “You’re just not the girl I’m going to marry.” And that this was the next and last time we met up “to talk.”

Ironically, we both transferred to dierent colleges after our first year, and our colleges were pretty close to one another. However, despite being close physically, we were far apart emotionally, which ascertained that things were over.

Towards the middle of my sophomore year, I started dating someone new. As the end of my sophomore year approached, I started looking for something new. I told my dad I was looking for a summer internships in Philadelphia, which was just outside of my school. After hours of searching for internships in Philly on my college’s career service site, I clicked “international internships.” I applied to a TESOL certication program in Quito, Ecuador, and to my surprise, I was accepted.

I had exactly $3.84 in my checking account when I decided I was going to Ecuador. When I initially told my dad, he was so terried at the thought of his 20-year-old daughter going to a third-world country that he didn’t talk to me for a week. After I refused not to go and made a game plan to raise the money to be able to, my dad came around. He even agreed to pay my $500 deposit. Between waitressing and contacting civic organizations, family, and friends, I was able to come up with a little over $5,000 in just three weeks to cover the cost of the program and airfare.

Traveling to Ecuador changed my life. Teaching underprivileged kids, climbing Volcan Cotopaxi, drinking coee while at the same time overlooking the entire town of Banos, in Banos, canoping, rapelling down waterfalls and somehow meeting Ecuador’s president in Mindo, seeing blue footed boobies and tropical penguins in the Galapagos, all changed my life.

To this day, and six years later, travelling to Ecuador was my only time out of the states. However, it is an experience that changed my idea of traveling in making me want to travel the world rather than the boardwalk at Ocean City, and thus is an experience that forever changed my life. Since it’s been so long since I’ve travelled out of the country though, I often wonder why. Part of me thinks I’ve grown afraid to travel, just like I’ve grown afraid to swim in the ocean. I used to swim in the ocean with ease and without thought, until one year I decided not to. Now that I stopped going in the ocean, I won’t, and I think it’s because I have forgotten what it is like to swim in the ocean and thus am afraid. Maybe this is why I haven’t travelled. Maybe we all have to travel, or we never will. ere’s another part of me thinks I lack a motive, or the drive to travel. In looking back on my decision to go to Ecuador, I often wonder what made me so bold in wanting to go. e older I get, the more I think it might’ve started out as an eort to get my high school boyfriend back. He and his family travelled often, and when he said I wasn’t the girl he’d marry, I knew the kind of girl he was interested in marrying was one he could travel the world with. Maybe, pinpointing why I haven’t travelled isn’t that important. Maybe, all that matters is I will.