A Wednesday Wander: Maps, Mehendi & More To Come!

May 2014

When I was young and the urge to be someplace else was on me,
I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch.
~ John Steinbeck

When I was young, the public library was one of my favorite places. I would pick a shelf, sit on the floor and preview book after book of faraway places and foreign languages. It may have been there where I first caught the travel bug, and as soon as possible, I found a way to be someplace else.

Little QTK

As I continued to travel, I began to change and grow in unforeseen ways. When I would return, countless people told me, “Oh that’s great! Travel while you’re young!” Their response baffled my invigorated spirit. I wanted a lifetime of wandering. Had these cautionary folks once felt that way too? Had they subconsciously suppressed their hopes and dreams? Fearful of following suit, a commitment began to form inside me.

Mehendi Application

The same little girl who would lose herself in the library also latched onto a particular lesson in elementary school- identifying the seven continents. The continents represented extremes, the far reaches of the globe, and I vowed to venture to six of them before turning that milestone age of 30 (figuring Antarctica could wait until I felt a stronger need for experiencing penguins and ice caps). I believed in this goal with such conviction, a permanent type of conviction, so it was I came to wear this goal around my wrist.

Fresh Henna

My map bracelet is an inked reminder of who I am, how I challenge my way of thinking, how I push my comfort zones, and how I never ever want this itch for discovery to be cured. Each red dot marks the first place on the continent where I step foot. Each red dot is a promise fulfilled to the girl who once explored via books alone.

Top of Hand

As is so often the case with mapping out one’s path, there were unexpected forks and twists along the way, mainly a giant hurdle called Unemployment. However, this hurdle hurled me into a far more creative and challenging endeavor. The pursuit of that precise point where talents, passions and skills overlap has been a detour, but it’s a detour I embrace. A 30th Birthday without the last, elusive dot stung just a tad, but it did not leave me dismayed. Being waylaid to focus on career dreams is inspiring, intimidating, empowering and daunting depending on the minute. It feels right, but it doesn’t quell the wanderlust stirring inside me.


Despite my desire to be someplace else, there are still journeys tucked inside me, whirling around like a distant hum, ready to be processed and unfurl. There are numerous photos and notes collecting dust, so I shall begin to wander through those memories, right here on my corner of the interweb.

Henna Finale

Now is the time for me to recall a bumbling elephant ride, a dance celebrating a lifetime commitment, the sway of a lake, a glimmer of white, details of stone, the sweetness of a banana, the redness of soil, and the clarity I felt from being distant.Now is the time for me to tell you all about India and London, maybe Puerto Rico and Paris too. Maybe even Africa! Now is the time for me to let my mind wander and journey through nostalgia, for these are the elements that inspire my flavors, my gatherings, my stories and more.

Henna in Color

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
~T.S. Elliot


Here’s to Wednesday Wanderings!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. eclecticoddsnsods

    Wow so those are proper tattoos not hennae? They are stunning but if tattoos oh my must have hurt there? Your desire and enthusiasm of life let alone travel is a pleasure to read x

    1. withthegrains

      Only the map on my wrist is a real tattoo. The rest of the designs were temporary henna. I’m not quite that into ink. 😉

  2. Anne Lively

    You write so well!

  3. Elizabeth

    You have no idea how much I relate to your wanderlust and words of travel. I love the idea of exploring through your corner of the interwebs too. That’s how I explore when I’m not physically on the move as well. I too have thought the same thing when people say, “travel while you’re young!” I think, “Oh, no!” I don’t want to ever stop, will I take on that mentality too? It gives me great comfort to meet another kindred spirit and I have a lot of admiration for what you are doing and have done!

    1. withthegrains

      Thanks Elizabeth! I’m sure you’ll continue to journey far and wide and collect so many beautiful stories along the way! Thanks for all the kind words. 🙂

  4. esensky

    You have no idea how much I relate to your wanderlust and words of travel. I love the concept of exploring on the interwebs as well, a way to explore when not physically on the move. I, too, have thought the same thing when people say, “travel while you’re young!” I think “Oh, no! I never want to stop. Will I eventually take on that mentality too?” It gives me comfort to read your words, and I have a great deal of admiration for your blog and what your’e doing. It inspires me to do more and think differently.

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