How It All Started

wandering the world : Thailand

How It All Started

I was 12 years old and in the middle of a 3 week punishment. I had been listening to my favorite song on repeat and sulking in my room. As I sat there, dreading the next week-and-a-half, I decided that I had reached my breaking point. (Life seems so much more dramatic at that age.)

Both of my bedroom windows were open and the warm breeze was blowing through the curtains in my room. It was the kind of Michigan summer afternoon that made you want to do something wild. The fresh air wakes you up, the breeze makes all of the hairs on your arms dance. I felt so alive. I needed to be outside, living.

My white box fan was drowning out the sound of my mom cooking dinner in the next room. This was my chance. I made a plan. I would pack a bag, and I would hit the road. I put two pairs of pants and two shirts in a backpack along with a stack of journals, a handful of pens, and my inhaler. I didn’t spend more than 30 seconds planning my escape.

There were woods about a block from my house, I had been in them before with my brother. I remembered several couches setup like a living room somewhere in the middle. I decided that I would go there first. I could sleep there and possibly even make new friends when the older kids showed up. It was settled, I was ready.

I shut one bedroom window so bugs wouldn’t get in while I was gone. I turned off my fan and I slid out of the other window, quietly closing it behind me. Then I stood there for a second in the warm summer air. I looked around our backyard, something about it was different. It seemed more exciting now, like it was all unexplored terrain.

I took a few deep breaths and started to think about how I would leave the yard. The kitchen window looked directly out over the gate, which was the only exit. A 6-foot-tall wooden fence surrounded the rest of the yard. I very slowly started walking toward the gate. I was about halfway there when I reverted back to myself.

I immediately began to worry. I thought about how dirty the couches would be, and the amount of bugs. What if the older kids weren’t friendly? What if nobody ever found me there? I had no money and I didn’t pack any food or water. I hadn’t planned my escape very well.

I walked to the backdoor of the house. I knocked. My mom opened the door and I instantly started crying. She laughed a little and asked what I was doing. I mumbled through my tears, “I tried to run away.”

“Where did you go?” She asked.

“Nowhere, I never left the yard. I can’t get back in my window.”

She wrapped the arm that wasn’t holding the potato masher around me and squeezed me into her. “Come help me finish dinner,” she said with a smile.

My first real chance at freedom and I blew it. I never even made it out of the yard.

I’ve been running away for as long as I can remember. I used to escape to the woods, now I wander the world.

. . .

Want some inspiration? Read Into the Wild.
This book will make you want to sell everything you own and wander the US with nothing but a backpack. An absolute must read for anyone that has ever dreamt of running away.


  • Reba
    Posted at 18:38h, 17 November Reply

    I want to let you know how proud of the woman that you have become I am. Runaway every chance you get. Explore the unknown. And when you return home I will punish you to you room so you can share your wonders with me. I love you my little girl always. Mom!

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