Running away to join the circus?

It’s every mother’s nightmare … Her precious child walks into the room and proudly announces she is running away to join the circus.

When we announced The Adventure plans to close family members it was if one of their worst nightmares was coming true … Becky was running away, far away, for a long time, and she was taking the five children and hubby with her. I was in effect joining the circus. Well, we have received some circus training while on The Adventure, but I digress.

One thing I love about my extended family and our relationships is that we are open and honest about what’s going on in our heads and hearts. We are a super close and love and support each other through life’s ups and downs. For them to express hurt feelings about my “running away” was expected and no real shock. I get it – they love us and want us around. And we love them too.

What I was not prepared to experience throughout The Adventure was having to answer the same questions over and over again.

“Why?” Grandma kept asking, “I just don’t get why you are doing this?”

She tries to understand but I know she doesn’t really get it. Just the other day she commented, “Was your life in Georgia so bad that you had to run away?”

And another stinger, “You have so many gifts to share with people. Why are wasting your talents?”

These remarks, although said with love, sting worse than any jellyfish bite I’ve received while on The Adventure. Especially coming from the people I love the most and who I thought “got me.” On the other hand, I get why my family keeps asks them. Over, and over, and over. I don’t fully answer them.

What is the answer? What is our why? I really don’t know. And I certainly don’t know how to articulate an answer I’m still figuring out.

Let’s digress to the circus training for a moment.

We ran away to Penang, Malaysia during a needed visa run and while there visited a really cool place called The Escape. This outdoor playground encourages old and young alike to disconnect from technology and enjoy nature, discovery, and the thrill of challenging self to conquer fear. It was here that we received some cool circus training. We flew through the air on a trapeze and it was GREAT!

Truthfully, I was scared to death; just climbing the ladder to the platform 30 feet above the ground about made me puke. Why did I continue? I wanted to do this. I wanted to be brave. I wanted my boys to know their mother is not a wimp. I wanted to try something new, challenging, and out of my comfort zone.
Robert and Becky on zipline.

Robert and Becky on zipline.

I shut my eyes, took that trapeze bar and leapt. And for just a moment I flew. It was incredible! The rest of that day I was eager to try zip lining, rock climbing, ropes courses and other physically demanding challenges I usually sit out. The Escape circus training had become a metaphor for The Adventure.

Perhaps our why or running away also includes elements of conquering fears, challenging ourselves to try something new, leaving our comfort zone, and infusing our life with a mediated risk/thrill which proves to ourselves that we are brave and capable and alive.

Other “escape artist” we encounter in our travels undertake this type of travel for their own personal reasons which are varied and vast. Some are escaping expectations from home. Others want out of difficult relationships. Some run away to develop themselves professionally. Lots are looking a missing “something” or someone. Some want to learn a new skill they just can’t find time to develop while at home. And others seek to begin new lifestyle habits including diet and exercise changes. Others are figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. Again, the reasons are varied and complex.

And so it is with us. Our why includes some elements of all these reasons and no single reason in particular. Perhaps our why really boils down to WHY NOT?

Recently Grandma said to me< "It's time for you to come home, dear. It's time for you to use your talents." I had to giggle. In three weeks she and grandpa would be running away to live in England for 18 months. And they ran away 10 years ago to live in Russia for 18 months. The difference - their assignments are to be missionaries, whereas we are "floundering." Whatever. Adventures, whether defined by rigid parameters or super loose like ours, are only embarked by incredible people. These folks are incredibly brave, full of life, a bit crazy, fun, non-conventional, hard workers, and dreamers. What's wrong with that? These folks are a bit of fresh air in a very stale world, and this includes my darling missionary parents! I don't think I'll ever be Cirque du Soleil candidate, but for one day I flew on a trapeze! And for eight months we traveled the world. It was awesome!