Three weeks until I step onto that plane. 21 days until I leave the comforts of home for a whole new adventure. 504 hours until I lose my safety net and take the leap. Time is an incredible thing. A difference of three years or three weeks or three days or three minutes or three seconds can mean an entirely different life path. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true. It took me three years to get my Bachelor's, three weeks for my first trip to Europe to show me that it was where I wanted to be, three days to decide that I was going to plan a trip to Southeast Asia, three minutes to book my flight to Germany when I knew I couldn't handle being away any longer, and three seconds to know damn well that I'd made the right choice. Life comes at you fast, and the smallest, split-second decision can make all the difference.
I am not the same person today as I was when I graduated high school. Not the same kid who finished out her freshman year in college, or the same girl who spent her sophomore year studying abroad, or the young woman who walked across that stage and got her diploma at WVU. I'm not who I was when I accepted my current job, and I know damn well I won't be the same at the end of this incredible upcoming year.
Me four and a half years ago would have been losing her mind right now. When I graduated high school, my plans were set in stone and I didn't plan on letting anything or anyone get in their way. Now? Maybe not so much. It's not as though I've lost focus. I am still the overachieving, over-eager nerd I've always been with big aspirations and even bigger plans on how to reach them, but my priorities have shifted. Right now, I have a life to live, and that is my new focus. I have a vague plan for the next year, but nothing is set in stone except that I am going (ie. my one-way ticket to Germany and my subsequent one-way to Vietnam). I have an itinerary for Southeast Asia, but nothing is booked, and nothing will be until I get there. I have an idea of the schools I plan to apply to for my Masters, but I won't know for sure until later this year. I have an inkling of what I want to happen when I finish out this year of travel, but hell if I know the best way to get where I need to be for the next step in my life. As the saying goes, however, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."
So for the next 21 days, and really for the next year, I plan to tell time not by the number on the clock, but by the coffee Marius brings me when we wake up in the morning. I'll tell time by my Skype calls to family back home rather than by my daily commute home from work. I'll live my life not by the amount of money in my bank account, but by the number of plane tickets I've accumulated. This is not to say that I don't already do my best to maintain this mindset throughout my life, but it's a hell of a lot easier when you're taking a year-long vacation and not just doing your best to keep up with everything life throws at you. I won't look at my watch because I'm running late, I'll look at it because I want to see how long I've been having such an incredible time wherever I happen to be. I don't walk quickly bc I'm late for something, I do it bc I physically cannot stand not already being wherever it is I'm going. I won't have to choose a street carefully in order to get where I'm going bc I would so much rather wander and explore the world around me than stick to one path just bc it's efficient. I won't check my phone (except to talk to my family, of course) bc there's too much to take in happening in real time, and the virtual world takes a back seat bc I refuse to miss anything. And maybe, if I'm lucky, that's how I'll get to live the rest of my life: in constant wonder at the world around me.
Like I said, life can come at you fast, and right now it feels like it's moving about a million miles a minute. I have 21 days left in the States and only 11 of those are here in California with my family - the rest are in Texas with my grandparents. There is just not enough time in the world for everything I want to do and everything I want to see, but I'm going to do what I can with what I've got.
Anyway, that's all for now boys and girls.
Until next week!
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)