Tomorrow is my sister-in-law's 30th birthday. I'm not sure if we're going to be able to get internet tomorrow, so she's going to have to accept our very early halfway-around-the-world birthday wishes.
She seems relatively nonplussed by the fact that she's turning 30, but we think birthdays are something worth celebrating, something worth getting excited over, even though we agree that age is just a number. So even if she's nonplussed, we're, uh, plussed, so we're sharing the good news with you.
For those of you who don't know her, Elissa has accomplished quite a lot in her 30 years. She's a doctor, for starters, and while she was in med school, she was so spectacular that she was inducted into the "smartest kids in med school" honor society and she spent a year healing sick kids in Bolivia. She's also married to my brother, which anyone (even Andy) will admit is no small feat for a modest 30 years.
What you might not know is that it was Elissa who initially helped Matt and I catch the travel bug. Back in spring of 2000, passing notes back and forth in that joke of a religion class that we took together, Elissa suggested that since Matt and I couldn't afford to do the backpack around Europe thing for longer than two weeks, that we should take a trip around the US instead. In Matt's truck. For 5 long weeks. And thus the spark for travel was ignited, and Matt and I DID take that trip, and miracle of miracles we did not kill each other, and we even got married, and are now on this other, bigger trip, saying happy birthday from halfway around the world. It may sound cliche to say it, but I love being able to look all the way back to the beginning of something, so for me it's a no-brainer: if Elissa had never suggested that first big trip, I might not be sitting here today, watching Matt read a book on Hinduism while the Andaman Sea quietly rolls around in the background.
So for all of those reasons and more, Happy (Early) Birthday, Liss! We wish you a wonderful next 30 years, and then another 30 after that, and then at that point, it's totally your call! May you have good health, big happinesses, and lots of journeys ahead of you.