i was the girl…
I was the girl with grass-stained jeans and a bad perm that smelled like her parents’ Camel cigarettes; the girl who wandered along Minnehaha Creek pretending she was an orphaned explorer in the wilderness.
I was the girl who sat next to the girl with the tan that she got during her trip to Florida over spring break with her family.
I was the girl who drank Snappy Toms with maraschino cherries on her first plane trip when she was ten, the only girl at Venice Beach that December day, leaping in the waves of the salty water she met for the first time.
I was the girl who dreamed big dreams, who wondered what it was like in faraway places.
I was the girl who got into Madison by the skin of her teeth where she overheard a conversation in a locker room one day about a post-college work-abroad program.
I was the girl who then sat down and wrote, I want to travel… and later, I want to travel to the other side of the world… and later, I want to travel to Australia and learn to surf…
I was the girl who listened to people say, “How are you going to do that?” and “What are you going to do when you get back?”
I was the girl who didn’t know the answer to any of these questions. But.
I was the girl who fed dreams to my journals where they grew real.
I was the girl who worked double-shifts at Rock Bottom, rode her bike home late in the evening, and stashed her cash in the top drawer.
I was the girl who found herself sitting on a Qantas flight headed for Melbourne, Australia at the end of December, 1995 in an old pair of Levi’s with $500 cash in her back pocket and no plans upon arrival,
the girl who meant to stay for three months but stayed a year,
the girl who picked flowers in the Dandenong Mountains and mandarin oranges in sweet-smelling groves next to a Dutch girl named Free.
I was the girl who hitchhiked and ran out of money and worked in a tomato-packing shed, the girl who got yelled at by a short, toothless Aussie woman because she put a #2 tomato in the #1 box.
I was the girl who traveled across the world, to Australia, and then New Zealand, to learn how to surf.
I was the girl who lived a dream impossible,
the girl who planted the seed of that dream, where it grew in the pages of her journal,
and spilled out, into her life.