Ryan was Linda Thomas' one and only child and as you read his essay that he wrote for a college Literature of Travel class, you will sense the love that he and Linda shared as mother and son.
May Ryan's words touch you, as they have touched us, as we join Linda in remembering and celebrating the joy of being "Ryan's blessed Mom," as Linda posts on her email and Facebook pages.
Literature of Travel
November 26, 2002
"I Don't Want to Wanderbust!"
I write you this letter because there has been something pressing on my mind. I have traveled the world and seen much of what she has to offer - her many breathtaking, stirring countries - and yet I find myself needing to come home more and more as the days go by. I could travel like this for years, don't get me wrong, but I feel like something has begun to pull me back towards home. I'll try to explain.
When I climbed Rokko Mountain and looked out over Kobe, Japan, I didn't feel it. When I played basketball in the streets of downtown Shanghai, China, I didn't notice it. Nor did I recognize it, when I saw the world's largest Buddha statue on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. It wasn't apparent in Vietnam, especially when I was eating a bloody, still-beating snake's heart in Ho Chi Minh City. I'm not trying to say that in Asia I didn't miss home, but I didn't quite sense what I feel now.
I splashed down in Malaysia, soaking in the sun while I played in the salt-laden waters just outside Penang. I don't remember thinking anything there, except that you would have enjoyed the horseback riding on the beach. And, then there was Chennai, India - with her silks, curry and yoga - all dressed up in sarongs and sarees, trying vainly to distract us from her horrible poverty and corruption. I thought for a moment I noticed it there, but maybe it was lost in the stale stench of the air. I definitely missed you, I'm sure of it; however, I didn't experience my emotional change here either.
I came upon the land of Africa with mixed feelings and a bit of apprehension. Kenya definitely surprised me, with its beautiful terrain and exceptional venues for experiencing animals in their natural splendor. Is it possible that it happened in Mombasa? Yes, but I think since I was on safari for three days I was distracted. We traveled to South Africa next. After a four-day road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and a 700-foot bungy jump, I was most certainly numb to the desire I have now.
Brazil was a non-stop party, with thousands of people drinking and dancing in the cobblestone streets of Salvador. Between the sun and cocktails during the day and the dancing and cocktails at night, most thoughts of any kind were left at the bottom of every Capirinha (popular drink with lime, sugar and rum) glass. As we draw near Cuba, I have developed this urge to see you, mom. To laugh, to cry, to share with you my experiences and catch up on what I've missed in your life as well.
I need to check in Mom, just to make sure you're okay, to know that you and Grandma are in good health, and to tell you I love you. If I could do that, hell, I could go for another three months. But I can't, so this chick needs to get back to the nest, pronto. Plus, one can only process so much before one needs to take a break and just breathe. I need to take it all in, realize what I've done over these past months and fall asleep on your shoulder.
I guess I'm a mama's boy; but that's okay, 'cause mama, you're all this boy's got. And I've come to the realization that you can travel to the ends of the earth, see fantastic places and meet remarkable people; however, if you lack the support that family and friends give, you will soon take the lust out of your wander and just bust.
I'll be home soon, mom. I miss you. See you on Wednesday at 6 PM at the airport. Take care.