Ever since first moving out of the family home at seventeen, I’ve had itchy feet. Not in an icky, locker room fungus kind of way … just in the always traveling and exploring kind of way.
I realized that I had the proverbial itchy feet after moving back to the States after nearly ten years living overseas. I was convinced to make the move back when an opportunity in the mountains of Vail, Colorado arose. I moved out in June and within two years had lived in Vail, Los Angeles, bought a house in Breckenridge, and moved briefly to work in Paris and Beirut. Opportunities of a lifetime in my book, and well worth pushing the pause button for.
Now that itch has returned after spending four years in Breckenridge. I don’t envision moving, Breck is an incredible place to call home. But that itch still needs to be scratched.
And so … I’m off to Afghanistan. Yes, by choice. No, I’m not wearing a burqa or packing heat. That said, I’ve been fascinated with this area of the world for a long time, and despite a short stint living in the Middle East, I’ve yet to travel there. Afghanistan is shrouded in an air of mystery that appeals to the itch: deep history of a land that was once part of the ancient silk road, poppies, burqas, the Hindu Kush mountains, and the infamous Kyber Pass.
Here is a country that was caught between Britain and Russia in the 1800s in a cat and mouse strategy affectionately called the Great Game. More recently, its story seems to hinge up on the 1970s Russian occupation which led to a Taliban occupation, which then led to the current American occupation. It’s a land many have tried to tame, but all thus far have failed.
So off I go, headscarves, turtlenecks, and visa all in hand (and a gaping hole in my bank account) to a place where spontaneity is not in the cards. For the first time, I have had to plan my plan of attack (no pun intended) carefully and consult with Afghans and westerners on the ground as to the current security situation. I have traveled in the Middle East; Lebanon and Syria. This is not the same. I was spontaneous, traveled solo, hired drivers, bribed border guards, etc., with little worry. Sure, there was still random violence in Lebanon and Syria that was not at the top of the U.S. travel advisory list … but the chance of violence was really quite low. Afghanistan is a different nut and I’ve had to learn a bit more restraint, patience, and planning.
The truly exciting part is that I’m lucky enough to go on behalf of the newly formed nonprofit I founded two years ago—a chance to put my itch to good use for the greater good!
So with my new found skills at home, and my soon to be new found friends and colleagues in Kabul … I’m off.
Scratch, scratch …