I played my first match as a member of the Capital Splats racquetball league this afternoon. More on them at a later date.
Suffice it to say, living in Falls Church, I needed to either drive into the city or take the Metro. Today, I opted for the Metro.
When the train pulled up to the East Falls Church Metro Station, the first car looked vacant. I've never ridden in the first car, and I don't particularly like being around all those people on public transit, so to the first car I went. Other than that guy in the garish neon yellow you see before you, the car was empty.
It was kind of weird being in the first car. It was like riding with the Monorail captain at Disney World. Except less awkward; because there's still a wall between us, I wasn't expected to make idle chitchat.
Comparing the Monorail to the Metro made me think about how far I've come in life, and how far I am about to go.
Growing up, my parents hated the thought of travel. They would make halfhearted promises to take me to Disneyland or Disney World, but I always knew it wouldn't happen. They were homebodies that never understood my sense of adventure. In the first 19 years of my life, my only exposure to the world outside of Texas was one trip to Las Vegas and another to Springfield, MO. Both trips had more to do with my father's car show hobby than they did with the concept of a family vacation. That's not to say we didn't travel. We did. We just did so within the confines of Texas.
During college i managed to sneak away to New Orleans a couple of times (trips that, to this day, my parents do NOT know about), cross the border for a lunch in Mexico, and spend Thanksgiving with a friend in Boston. Thanks to a study abroad course I participated in during college, I somehow managed to visit five European countries before finally fulfilling my childhood dream of going to Disney World, and that was only because I accepted an internship there. This was ridiculous to me. I thought everyone went to Disney World as a child. It's like a right of passage.
Of course I know better now. Since college, I guess you could say I've been somewhat well travelled. I've travelled more than some, less than others. Now that my family has joined the Foreign Service, I know that I will be living in, and visiting, places that most of my friends and loved ones will never see (Though they are ALWAYS welcome to visit!!!).
After college, when I made the decision to move to Orlando, a few friends commented on how brave they thought I was. They could not imagine leaving everything and everyone behind to go on such an adventure. But I could. It was exciting. I figured I would just stay in Orlando until it felt like it was time to leave. Seven years later, and I guess I could finally see where those astonished friends of mine were coming from. It is scary to leave home. Some people are able to do it, others aren't. I know those friends of mine are still living right where they were back then. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I do hope that they travel, though. And if they don't, then I hope it only because they don't want to.
I'm not keeping score or anything, but I don't think I will ever be fully satisfied with the number of stamps in my passport, or the number of pushpins I can poke through a map. There's just so much to see...so much to do.
My wish for everyone tonight is that you are one day able to ride all of the rails, both metro and mono, that your hearts desire.