Making arrangements to travel is one thing, but it is another thing entirely to commit to leaving your life for an extended amount of time. Having invested so much in a network of professionals, years of work experience, and a life path, walking away is unconventional, some may say revolutionary. Pausing a career, moving out of an apartment, saying goodbye to pets, family, long-time friends, a partner. It is not an easy thing to do, and a lot of people have told me how jealous they are of it. It is something to be admired if not for the courage it takes. There is a reason not many people end up doing something like this. It is damn difficult! It's risky and in a way foolish. As someone who has gone full speed over the past six years through high school, college and then straight into work, doing as I "should", now it is time to step back and reflect.
Who am I without my titles and relationships? What do I need and want? What do I want to dedicate the rest of my life working towards? All these questions arise as I buy supplies and book plane tickets. As early as June of 2016, I had the idea to leave my home and travel which meant not to seeking employment after my job ended in December 2016. Since then, I have had so many tempting reasons and opportunities to stay, cancel my trip, and forget I ever had the dream in the first place. Despite my fears and hesitation, I have stayed committed. This is so challenging and as a result it confirms for me that it will be a rewarding experience because if it were easy, it would not be what I am looking for. I seek personal growth and discovery about the inner person that I don't know too well, that I haven't had the opportunity to understand by putting my work and accomplishments before my own self. I also yearn for an outside perspective on the United States, to see diverse ways of doing things and find ways to apply that to make the world a better place in whatever way I choose to pursue.
For my travel plans, my starting place will be New York before heading to Europe. I plan to go from Portugal to Finland and see most major destination in between. Egypt? Russia? We shall see. Perhaps it will take four months, maybe longer (to be determined). The list of supplies is daunting (two and a half pages in a notebook), the coming goodbyes are foreboding, and I can't shake the fear and excitement that battle against each other inside me everyday.
I have grown up in and created an amazing and beautiful life that I am so grateful for. I am fortunate, but not as appreciative as I would like to be for all that I have earned and been given. San Diego for me is comfortable and nurturing, not that different from a paradise called The Shire in J.R.R. Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings. A place where the scary outside world is far away and distant, and yet looming all around. It is never the obvious choice to leave a great life full of love and happiness. Pushing down my self doubt and embracing the journey that will change the course of the rest of my life, I am indeed looking forward to my time away from The Shire.