It was quite bizarre waking up on Tuesday morning knowing that this is it. The day I had been waiting for since starting University nearly two years earlier had finally arrived. It was bizarre because to family, friends and even strangers the story had always been clear. I would tell them that for my year abroad I had decided to go to Latin America. That I would find work and stay there for the duration of my 3rd academic year. Eventually it became clear that it would be Nicaragua that was to be my home for the 9 months away and that I would be volunteering as a hiking guide for a non-profit organisation in Léon.
My decision was met with a lot of ‘Ooh’ ‘Aah’ and ‘wooow’s before the inevitable “how exciting” or “you are so brave” and “it’ll be great fun & good luck”. In response I would smile and say “yes it is exciting, oh I’m not that brave, lots of people do it” and confirm that I really hoped it’ll turn out to be just as much fun as it sounds like.
It was bizarre because up until the moment I left for the airport it could’ve been anybody’s adventure, anybody but my own. And then it hit me, ‘holy shit, I’m going away for 9 months’!! I was calm and collected on the outside (I would like to think), but in my head was a rush of a desperate thoughts about leaving friends and family, my boyfriend and the scariest thing of all, that I was doing this utterly and completely alone. ‘Deep breaths’ I told myself. ‘and focus one day at a time. If you think 9 months ahead you will ruin this moment’.
Because this was really a moment for me. For so long my only and most passionate goal in life has been to travel and to see the world. And here I was, well travelled, but never alone like this. Scary and at the same time exhilarating. Maybe I was brave, because even though many people go solo traveling I am not a typical one. I am shy and I like the comfort of others to make me bolder and secure. But I couldn’t be mainstream. Because to me travel IS life and not one damn thing was gonna stop me from realising life to happen, especially not fear.
I wanted to go to Latin America. Period. Full stop. And so I did. It was a decision to follow my dream.
And as I passed through security at the airport, waving goodbye to my parents for the last time in so long, I swallowed back the lump in my throat and began living life in the moment, as I walked towards my destiny.