I’m leaving tomorrow for a three-week solo trip through Western Europe. I’d be lying right now if I said I wasn’t scared.
In general, I’ve been feeling raw lately. The passing of my grandmother, leaving my job of almost two years, not to mention Mercury in gatorade. I’m just going through it, going through all of it.
I’ve been planning this trip for at least six months. Saving like crazy, had my bag packed since February, been reading every thing, studying all the maps, and yet in no way do I feel ready.
I’m scared for a number of reasons: that something stupid will happen with my flight, that I’ll forget a crucial piece of documentation, that someone will mug me or sell me into slavery, that I might be jet-lagged forever, that I’ll run out of money halfway through, that my cat will die while I’m away, that this trip won’t be the soul-altering revelation I really really want it to be. That I won’t write anything worthwhile about it.
I was thinking all of these things this morning, as I’ve been thinking them for the past weeks and months, but as I was thinking, I remembered why it is that I love to travel so much.
The first time I flew on an airplane, I was seventeen, and it was only a few weeks after my first suicide attempt. I needed to leave the country then, not so much to leave the place itself, although that was a part of it, but to leave myself. For as much as travel is about meeting and finding different parts of the world, I have found even more that it is a new way of meeting and finding oneself.
When I travel, I view myself through a new context, a new lens, in the company of new people. Imagining, what if I’d been born here? Or here? What if I were best friends with this person? What if I went to this cafe everyday? What hundreds of thousands of different paths might I have been set on?
But I am here, now, experiencing this life, of all the possible lives.
I need to meet myself again. I need to remember what it is about this life that is so painfully special and uniquely. I need to remember which parts of me are set in stone and which are constantly in motion. I need to meet myself right where I am, with all my angry, lonely, raging heart.
To see myself with exactly this amount of money in my bank account. With exactly these clothes and this haircut. With exactly these shortcomings and frustrations.
And I hope that when I see myself, I’ll be able to love myself in a whole new way as well.
Will post pictures and updates as frequently as possible.
Much love and gratitude,