Par Jo Lee
Two weeks after nearly maxing out her mother’s credit card on their birthday shopping spree, Jennifer awoke at 4 in the morning after a blissful dream. In it, she was flying higher than airplanes and birds. No matter how long she flew, her altitude never lessened, her stance never faltered. As someone extremely afraid of the mildest heights, she knew the dream wasn’t about flying. It was about freedom. Jennifer knew right then and there that she had to obtain it, and that once she did, just like her altitude, she’d have to keep it. She stayed up and started researching her escape. What would she do? Where would she go? How would she get there? How far away? How long?
At first, she looked into adventure trips with groups and tour guides and locations she couldn’t even pronounce…then decided that it might be too ‘adventurous’for her. Then she looked into the prospect of house swapping with someone in another country but nothing piqued her interest. So she considered just looking for jobs abroad and figured once she found a job that seemed decent enough, she’d apply and just go wherever that job was located. Having promised herself to no longer go for jobs she didn’t actually enjoy, the challenge proved to be harder than imagined. Almost at the brink of despair, she began pondering the kind of freedom that would make her feel as elevated as she was in the dream. Jennifer switched things up and no longer worked around different circumstances but rather started drawing up the ideal scenario. She’d be in a fantastic city located in a country full of history and culture, in her own place, making her own rules, living her own life to her heart’s content. She was already from Africa so that continent was out of the equation in terms of mystery and allure. Asia was a close second but she feared it would be too far, the cultures too different, the language barrier too vast, the solitude too great. Europe was perfect, half a day away in commute in case she felt too homesick, host to a beautiful ocean that she’d long dreamed about and the perfect weather at this time of year. Italy was too romantic for a lone soul; Spain — too eclectic; Amsterdam — too risky; France — too familiar and Greece was too turbulent with their current crisis. Realizing she was just a wimp, she wrote all the countries spaciously on a sheet on paper, closed her eyes, spun around the room for a few seconds before returning to the table and slamming her index finger onto the page.
She breathed in deeply and released a huge sigh. Before she opened her eyes, she wanted to talk to herself.
Jen, you can do this! Whichever country you choose, you have to go… regardless of how you think it is or might be. You’ve been good for 22 years, It’s time to be wild. Now open your eyes and get ready to start living!
She opened her eyes quickly like someone being rudely awakened by a nightmare. Her finger was right on the name of the country she’s randomly chosen and even though she couldn’t see the full name, she knew exactly the one she’d chosen. A look of glee and excitement washed over her face as she whispered to herself,