Psychiatrist. A child psychiatrist to be exact. That was always my answer whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to work with young people. I wanted to make sure they were well adjusted. Prepared. Mentally fit. So I took the appropriate coursework and received my bachelor's degree from Northeastern State University in the fall of 2001. After graduation, I decided it would be beneficial to take a year off before entering my graduate program. I could work in my field of study ensuring an impressive and competitive application. I took a job at a residential treatment center for adolescents. My adulting was moving along just fine for awhile but then "it" happened. What can only be described as a full blown quarter life crisis happened. I realized my work, regardless of how well intended, was pointless.
The interaction I had with those young people day in and day out at the center left me unfulfilled and drained. The reality of my chosen career path was setting in. You see, we weren't in the business of making these kids well. That's not how it worked. We don't get paid if the facility's beds are open...but that's a tale for another time. So there I was. A grown up with no idea what I wanted to be anymore. I needed a change. I needed to go. Escape. I found the perfect job for someone in my position. I applied for and accepted a job as a flight attendant at a small airline. Adulting resumed. My new job afforded me access to just about anywhere I wanted to explore. I definitely took advantage. I made sure to document and share my travels on my social media pages. I talked tirelessly with co-workers, friends, family, and just about anyone that wanted to hear about it. I shared.
One day, I logged on to find a message waiting in my inbox. It was from a friend I hadn't seen since high school but we kept up with each other online. She told me how much she enjoyed my travels and how inspiring it all was. I was flattered. I was glad I was able to gather my mess and make it likable enough so others could marvel. However, she wasn't messaging me just to massage my ego. This young lady has a teenage daughter. She wanted her to travel the world as she had watched me do for years. Learn from the experiences travel affords. Appreciate other cultures. She wanted her daughter to travel with me.
"Not all those who wander are lost"
- J.R.R. Tolkien
Here we are. Finally. I am now going to stop rambling on and tell you how I found myself the owner of a professional chaperone service. When she initially asked me to bring her daughter along I naively said yes. We chatted for a good while and decided we would definitely make this happen. Then it hit me. The level of commitment and awesome responsibility such a thing would require of me. I decided not to shy away from it. So I lowered my head and got to it. Dug in and did the work needed to make sure I did this the right way. A few months later, her daughter and I set off for Egypt. (Wandering through Egypt)
This was my chance to marry my two backgrounds. My two loves. Young people and travel. I now could get it right. Teens can't travel alone for obvious reasons but those that want to wander now had a way. I would go with them. This is the what I am supposed to do. This is how I am supposed to do it. I now know what I want to do as a grown up. We have all heard the saying, "not all those who wander are lost." Quite the contrary. Wandering is how I am finding myself and it would seem I won't be alone.