Four days to departure.
It feels incredibly surreal to finally be on the cusp of the adventure I have been planning since last summer. I honestly don’t think it has fully hit me – it’s possible it won’t sink in until I’m there.
I don’t want to preach this trip as a “dream come true,” because as of yet I’m not sure if it is. But I can attest to the fact that this trip is one thing in my life that I have worked towards and have prepared for entirely by myself. In that sense, I am deriving a huge sense of pride already. I set numerous goals before leaving on this trip and I met each one. The sense of accomplishment in the simple act of leaving is indescribable.
I’m scared, of course. I’m bottling up my fear and trying to be brave. I’m desperately trying to tune out the voice in my head that is reminding me of what I have already lost, and what I may lose, and instead focusing on what I have to gain. I am hoping to create a character metamorphosis on this trip. I hope that I shake the nagging depression that has been clinging to me like a wet towel for years. I know it will be hard. I expect to break down. I fully intend on crumbling into heaps of rubble and wanting to blow away. I just need to know that I am capable of picking myself back up. I need to feel that rush of joie de vivre again. I want to stop focusing on finding love with people and falling in love with my life.
I’ve been creating packing lists and looking at maps since last July. I’ve been packing and re-packing for months. I’ve booked hotels through Hotwire, trains through Rail Europe, planes through IcelandAir and established a host through WWOOF France. I’ve been shopping like a maniac and purchased everything under the sun that I could possibly need. Yet I have not mentally and emotionally prepared myself to leave home for months.
There’s a funny thing about leaving. In the past few months there has been a mass purging of my relationships. I noticed that technology, and especially social media, has allowed me to keep unhealthy relationships in my life. I want to cut ties and rebuild. I want to allow myself to be selfish.
In a few weeks, I will be celebrating my 23rd birthday. Looking back on my 22nd year, I can see the changes that lead me to take this trip. I graduated from university and college. I ended a relationship and declined a proposal. I dated people I shouldn’t have and had my heart broken by people I didn’t expect to care about. I both started and left my first real job. I got into my first serious car accident and managed to walk away unscathed. I learned the ups and downs of casual relationships and serious relationships until I realized the only relationship I want to be in is the one with myself. I got my certification to teach English as a second language. I realized that you should always tell people how you feel about them when you have the chance (even if it hurts). I got blackout drunk and woke up hours later with a black eye and a “missing” wallet. I discovered that at the end of the day it’s you that has to live with your choices. I realized that accepting blame and responsibility for your actions is a shitty but necessary feeling.
In my 23rd year, I hope to evolve. I hope to stop wearing my skin like a suit of armor. I aspire to make a home out of my body – to live and love within it. I hope I start being more honest with myself about what I want. I pray I have the courage to walk away from anything or anyone that attempts to belittle me. I hope I can understand that I don’t need to have everything figured out. I hope I learn to stress less and enjoy more. I hope I wake up every day looking forward to my life. I hope I become more independent. I hope I write more and feel inspired. I hope to nourish my soul. I want a passionate year (& life) and I refuse to settle for anything less.
There will never be a trip like this one again in my life.
I promise myself I will make this trip as positive as I can.
I promise to write as often and as honestly as possible.
I promise to be safe and use common sense.
I promise to see and live and explore and thrive.