One Step Forward | My Family Travels

Twin Peaks, San Francisco

A tightly-sealed door never failed to guard my hesitant heart from outside adventures. But on that otherwise gloomy day, a tiny spark escaped. The carefully engineered clicks rang throughout my ears, the overwhelming thuds of my heartbeat, and a fluttering happiness sang in my faint voice. The mechanics inside my complicated heart began to unlock itself.

I had always preferred the comfort of local activities. The crinkle of the turn of a book page as I diligently studied in a hushed library. The soft melody of a tiny black bird. The scurrying of ambitious ants up a sturdy tree. This calming environment had become my home. I had grown comfortable; maybe I had grown too comfortable, to the point of fearing even one step out of my usual routine.

But as I took the first few steps of the brick-lined stairs, my heart began to release its tension. Although it was far from my usual routine, I was filled with excitement. I noticed familiar joys in my path; the crunching of leaves beneath my worn sneakers, the caw of seagulls, and once again, minuscule ants rushing to their destination in the mounds of dirt. Taking the brick side steps as opposed to the paved roadway with the occasional car rolling down felt slightly less reckless, but was a wondrous adventure nonetheless. Darkly colored tree leaves bristled my hair and caressed my face whenever I took a step too close. Linking arms with the strong woman who had brought me into the world, I felt a sense of fulfillment. Also deprived of the opportunity to travel, this was a lucky moment. With her once small child who had grown into a much taller child, she expressed her joys. Even so, she did not fail to deliver the ever-so-constant “be careful!”

At the very top of the Russian Hill in San Francisco, I looked out at the the scenery beyond me. It wasn’t exceptionally astounding, but kept me captive. It was most likely the wind; its gentle roar brushing through my cozy sweater and settled on the hairs of my arm. Despite the relative easiness of the trek, reaching the peak was a commendable feat for myself. Having grown accustomed to curling up in bed, googling up intriguing tourist spots, this hill was a baby step.

Descending, my parents leisurely stepped down with careful steps. On the other hand, I fled down the steps before listening to whether my mom approved of my request to run down. With quick steps sounded by the collide of my feet and the bricks, with my hair dancing along, I looked back up to my parents.

I had only run for a few seconds, I thought. How did I end up so far away? In the unusually long minute it took for my parents to reach me, memories of my growth appeared before me. As I took cautious steps in my early childhood, sticking close to my parents, it was myself in my comfortable environment. The home that became my shell. But with the teeniest exposure, I saw the vast opportunities the outside had to offer. My steps I had taken became gradually larger, until I realized how sizable the gap had become. I always yearned for the freedom of a bird’s wings, to look out upon the world’s skies and explore endless secrets. But I always kept myself closed.

But it was time to advance into all kinds of journeys. Just like those determined ants, I started to push my way forward, step by step.

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