Bookcase Full of Tickets

I have always wanted to travel the world. When I was younger, I had the chance to visit a few places in the United States, and just dip my toe in the beauty of Canada. In high school, my parents took me to Puerto Rico to visit some family and also introduce me to “The Motherland.”

As a married woman, I wanted to make up for lost time and travel to as many places as I could, but our marital budget couldn’t support that desire. My husband and I have been able to honeymoon at Prince Edward Island, and over the years, we have learned to dream together about traveling despite finances. We’ve also been intentional over the past few years to visit more places as our budget has increased.

I’m the woman who has a bucket list of places and adventures I dream of experiencing. I thoroughly enjoy hearing about others’ traveling adventures, and the process of planning a “someday” trip is invigorating. In my heart, I know that someday I will travel to as many destinations as I can and soak up every moment that presents itself.

To be quite honest, the wanderlust is strong within me.

This passion for adventuring was planted early at the core of my being not necessarily by physical travel, but definitely through the multitude of books I consumed as a young girl. I recall my mom taking me to our local library where I would run excitedly through the stacks, gathering as many books as my small arms could carry. Each book I read magically transported me to worlds that shaped my mind and fed my adventuring spirit.

Looking back into my childhood, I can remember developing strong familial bonds with orphaned siblings as we lived in our boxcar home and solved thrilling mysteries. The importance of bringing beauty to the world regardless of where you have been was imparted to me by Miss Rumphuis as we planted lupines all over the countryside. On Rass Island, I cried jealous, angry tears with a twin sister while we struggled over our insecurities of adolescent life, and later I greedily ate Turkish Delight with a little boy named Edmund while we rode with the White Witch.

I distinctly remember a turning point in my reading life when I traveled to a small village in England to watch young David Copperfield grow up. From that moment on, I turned to the classics to transport me to new places, and there I had the honor of meeting new, fascinating characters. I visited Pemberley, Manderley, Thornfield Hall, and Limmeridge House. I ran with the likes of Lord Henry Wotton, Dr. Jekyll, Giovanni and Beatrice, and Gandalf. I became unbelievably obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe and his morbid, mysterious mind. I let Agatha Christie take me by the hand and show me how crime was manipulative and evil in all areas of the world, but in the end, regardless of whether you were a Belgian man or an elderly spinster, even the most dastardly of crimes could always be solved.

Once I exhausted myself in traveling with the classics, I decided it was time for a more modern era. From that point, I went on adventures with an amateur bounty hunter from New Jersey, a British beauty who had a disastrous addiction to shopping, and a ruthless heiress who wanted land more than anything in the world. My letter from Hogwarts came, and I spent seven amazing years in a magical, unforgettable community. In another world I’ve sat in the great hall of Winterfell, grieved when my Khal died, and rejoiced when dragons helped conquer cities.

I am thankful for my love affair with reading and also passionate about encouraging others to explore these worlds even if reading isn’t their thing. Every single book has allowed me to travel to places both beautiful and terrifying while going about my daily life. It may not be a substitute for real, tangible travel, but the stories and adventures imparted have been as real to me as any physical journey. But then, as Levar Burton would say “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

Mal Arnold is a passionate Latina wife and mother who is a chaser of dreams and believes in living life with abandon. She writes to pour some of herself out for any who care to experience her heart, but is also an avid reader, lover of old movies and going on journeys with family as well. She has seen heartache and trauma in her past and is learning to let her Maker heal her broken places.