Travel

Points of no return

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is check my phone to see what I missed. This last week and a half, I’ve been in San Francisco, with a body that’s still on New York time, so I’ve been waking up pretty early.

This morning, when I looked at my phone, I was shocked. For the first time, the date said November for the first time (well, this year), and I was hit with the realization that this is the month I’ve been waiting for.

For almost a year, I’ve been saving, sacrificing, and scraping by to make my dream of travelling half-way around the world a reality. When you’re working so hard on something for so long, it never seems quite real.

In 10 days, I board a flight over the pacific ocean, leaving behind the continent and country I’ve lived in all my life.

Over a month ago, I quit my job.

It was a Monday. I had a short shift that day, which was a relief, as the weekend before had been, shall we say, intense (I was working at a major electronics retailer, that had a significant product launch).

Even that morning, the fact that I was leaving hadn’t really hit me. I’d been working there for over three years, and my coworkers were like family. About two hours before the end, though, my stomach started moving like there was a kickboxing tournament going inside.

During my last hour, I sat down to take care of some finalities. I had a talk with the HR manager to go over some details. I wrote a few emails to recap what had happened over the weekend.

And then, I had to write “The Email.”

You see, there’s a tradition that when you leave this job, you write an email to the rest of your team to announce that you’ve left. There are so many employees, and many of them won’t have been working that day, so they might not know you’re gone if you don’t write it.

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write, because it brought home the fact that I’d made a life-altering choice.

I was leaving my friends, my home, my life, to go off and have the adventure of a lifetime.

Since leaving my job, I’ve slept in nine different locations in five different cities. I’ve spoken or volunteered at three conferences in three time zones.

But through it all, it still didn’t feel all that real. I was still in a country that I’m familiar with; a country that has been mine all my life.

This morning, when I looked at my phone, and saw the date was November 1st, it was like getting a punch to the stomach–in a good way, if that’s possible.

If I wasn’t nervous about flying 10,000 miles away, I’d probably have to have my sanity checked. A small part of me is thinking of canceling the whole thing, keeping my savings, and just flying back to New York.

But that part of me is drowned out by the rest, the part that can’t wait to set foot in the southern hemisphere for the first time. The part of me that is was born to explore.

I figure I can keep the fear in check, at least until I’m in a plane over the Pacific Ocean. I don’t know what’s ahead of me, or where I’ll be a year (heck, even a month) from now. But I’m not scared, and I’m not turning back.

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