As a young girl I had shelves and shelves of National Geographic magazines at my disposal. Actually, that’s a lie. They weren’t at my disposal, I just happened to pilfer them against my mom’s wishes. I’d been exposed to a single magazine at the age of 4 and that was it – I was hooked. The colors and pictures were way better than any kiddie book I’d ever seen, so I figured out how she had them organized by month and year and would sneak them and (not so) carefully return them to their… That’s a lie, too. I took stacks out at a time and rarely returned them to the right place. I got in trouble all the time, but she finally got hip to my hunger and let me at ’em.
When I was just a few years older I discovered we had a big, beautiful hardbound National Geographic Atlas on another book-laden shelf that I definitely wasn’t supposed to touch, but did anyway, and decided to figure out where all the exotic places in the magazines were so I could daydream about grown-up adventures. Then (and this was a biggie) we got a set of shiny new Britannica Encyclopedias. I ate those for breakfast. Now I could learn even more about all the countries and cultures I’d read about in the magazines and searched for on the maps. I couldn’t get enough!
All that combined with a foreign-born father and a mom who dragged me on some crazy adventures of our own and voilà! the wanderlust gene burst forth.
There was one problem with that: I was too young to go anywhere on my own. Ugh! Frustration! I had to stay put, had to go through school, had to succeed according to the parameters set forth – get good grades, go to college, and get a job. This sort of constituted convention did NOT sit well with me. I did not want to stay put, did not want to be in school all day, and I definitely did not like pre-set parameters. I’m pretty sure that’s what contributed to my bad attitude and subsequent bad grades.
But the bad grades and bad attitude weren’t because I was stupid or super emo (outside of normal teen angst), it was because I was bored and confined. I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed a different method of learning. I was going through the motions, quite unsuccessfully, because it was expected of me. But I’d lost interest along the way and stopped caring so the spark died. That, and I lived in a bubble – a stifling, parametric bubble.
It wasn’t until I got a taste of college and a different approach to learning and education that I rediscovered I actually loved to learn! A bit more freedom -that, admittedly, got the better of me for a while- that allowed me to seek out interests, explore new curiosities, and find my groove. It took a while – I had to rehab the ‘study’ muscles that had atrophied throughout junior high and high school – but once I found it, I couldn’t get enough. It was just like the days as a kid where I pored through every bit of learning material I could. This new ‘world’ re-ignited the spark and that budding scholar within.
I still traveled and experienced new places: California, Baja, Central America, Florida, and Europe while learning as much as I could about Biology, Nursing, Aviation, and Engineering (among any number of non-academic life lessons). I could’ve done it forever and excelled at whatever I’d set my mind to and been perfectly happy. That doesn’t fit the conventional parameters of “go to school, get a job, get married”, but I would’ve thrived and been happy.
Fast forward to having my own smarty pants kid whose budding wanderlust gene is just starting to burst forth, as well as whose same boredom with conventional, standardized school is beginning to rear its ugly head. What am I to do? Lose him to the mold? Allow the same parametric bubble to whittle away at his natural and insatiable desire to learn AND travel?
Thus, the birth of Scholarlust. This will be a journey of exploring new ways to travel and learn and still be able to achieve and succeed in the real world without losing the spark in the first place.
Stand by for launch…