make me a bird

Before I met Rachel, I was stuck.

I didn’t have a plan for my life, I didn’t know where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do.

I don’t want to make it seem like Rachel changed everything, like she saved me or something. But it was like I had been asleep, and the day she walked into my life, I woke up. And I’ve never gone back.

When I was younger, I was the one to imagine running away out the window, or heading to the airport without knowing my destination. I dreamed of cities with flashing neon lights and wild adventures in the woods. I was the only person I knew who wanted out of small town life. No one understood my need to be anywhere but here, and I was only ever encouraged to stay in one place, never to explore, never to grow outside the confines of my community. I became stuck. I started to almost understand what they all understood, and I lost my drive to escape.

And then I met Rachel. And it all came back.

During our first conversation, she told me that she had forced her foot to stay on the brake of her car, resisted the urge to drive off, anywhere else. She told me about the list she kept in her pocket, in her head, on her hand, of all the places she wanted to go. She told me that she was desperate to go, but felt trapped, and nervous about going out on her own.

And in that moment, all I wanted was to follow her. My childhood dreams came back, my own travel bucket lists and desperation to see new things… they all returned with Rachel.

That night, we decided we could not continue to live the way we were being told to live. We could not continue to restrict ourselves to small town life, in rural Nova Scotia. We decided there was more out there for us, and never again would we allow ourselves to get stuck. And while we were finally on track to start crossing things off our lists, we also had our own lives, our own ‘stuff’, left to finish. Rachel was a student, I wanted to learn more about what interested me, we had responsibilities, and jobs, and almost no savings. We were twenty-somethings in a small town, ready to leave. We lay on the floor of my apartment, all of our travel books and lists and inspirational photos in front of us, and we were going.

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