To Soccer Mom, From BW Soccer Mom, "SOMEDAY"

That's what I just wrote on the Travel Section of the New York Times. I'm putting it in my desk. I'll probably find it in 5 years.

When I was young, all I needed was a rail pass, a passport and some financial assistance from my ever-generous Dad (usually after I depleted my savings on things like a hair cut that cost more than a week's lodgings (French would have been useful!), unexpectedly finding myself on a 1st class only train and a meal I couldn't really afford). I used to manage to backpack through Europe alone with no problem (ok, once I did have a multi-lingual travel companion, but what the hell were my parents thinking when they let me backpack through Europe with a boy they met 3-4 times?! Another time I started to travel with a friend. We went our separate ways: she ended up being a professional travel writer - my dream job!)

The Travel Section today is completely focused on Latin America. Ever since I got to know some very cool exchange students from places like Peru, Brazil and Colombia I've wanted to be brave enough to explore their continent but have yet to step on South American soil.

If I worked I'd have the money to go. If I worked I wouldn't have the freedom to travel. Now that I don't work, I have the time (theoretically, at least) but I don't have the financial freedom to take off and explore only for my own enjoyment? But there's another think that takes away my freedom: my own choices.

How come I've let having kids preclude me from having my own adventures? I don't think it's marriage, since the summer after we married my husband sent me off to Europe for 4 weeks of backpacking without him. (And we have much more money (but more debt) now). But I had worked for a year as a travel agent and longed to see friends overseas. Things have changed. Now my priorities are making sure my daughter has a ride here, there and everywhere.

Maybe I'm thinking this because as I type this, my good friend SM is kicking back in Hawaii where she is visiting a brother who moved there. She invited me to go with her and I said no thank you. It didn't even occur to me to bring it up as a topic at dinner because I knew that heading 1/2 way across the world during the busiest week of the school year was a no brainer. It wasn't happening.

By why not?

Why do I keep making these choices? Book fairs over Kauai's beaches? The old me would have said Kauai without a second thought. I've been there and know the paradise I'm missing. But today I'm drinking coffee in my kitchen and later today it's my turn to drive the cheerleading carpool. Today I get to watch C and her friends in short skirts do dances and jump around, having fun.

If I were tasting ice cream in Argentina, I'd be alone and probably lonely, missing out on what will prove to be a beautiful Saturday evening. No matter how great the dulce de leche.... I wouldn't have my loved ones with me.

And for all my chaotic life choices, one thing I am happy about - I am never lonely! It's here my friends are. Here my destiny keeps me and here I take care of those I love!

So I guess I'll open up the Book Review. There's a story about a Chilean writer... but actually upstairs in my room I'm reading a FANTASTIC children's book, The Dreamer. I can go to Chile, and I only have to walk up a flight of stairs and turn left. I invite you to join me. You won't be lonely, you meet your obligations and you won't get jet lag!

Editorial note: I didn't mean to invite you into my bedroom with me - I meant to invite you to READ the book.... sorry for any confusion!


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