This past week has been a mix of ups and downs. As I blissfully indulge in the perks of being at home, I also face momentary spurts of panic, such as when I realized I was running out of pages in my passport, or that I had a flight to Bangkok, but not to Chiang Mai where I ultimately have to end up.
It feels that every person I share my plans with looks at me with concern, eyebrows caving in, bowing down to look me straight in the eye and says, “You are so brave.” Ummmm, I think, am I walking into something I don’t know about?
Is there a monster at the Bangkok airport there to snatch me with his talons? Am I going to a place in shambles, facing gruesome war-zone damage? Am I entering a black hole? As far as I know, the answer is none of the above. While sure, this trip freaks me out because I will be alone and it is all new cultures and traditions, those are also the reasons why I am so excited to take this trip. I can have a slight panic attack that I don’t know the traditional Thai way to say hello or eat my food, but after taking a few deep breaths and reassuring myself that I will figure it out, I feel fine. Someone heading to Haiti, Iraq, Libya- they are brave. I am giving myself an extended vacation to run around and learn things and meet new people. Is there anything better?
I understand that those who call me brave are doing so in admiration. Maybe they would not take this trip, or maybe they think they couldn’t. I quite honestly do not know why I feel confident jumping into this alone. I am not a terribly adventurous person. I admire those who are: the people who will go paragliding or get off at the wrong stop just to erase a plan. I think I am just brave enough to trust myself not to do anything too stupid.
Finally last night I received very different feedback when I met up with former travel buddies Elissa and Kesha. “How long are you going for?” Kesha asked me. “3-5 months,” I said. “Oh,” she replied, “that’s nothing!” I lit up and laughed to myself. That is how I had felt at the start of this all. Now, I feel like I am heading to Never Never Land.
With 5 days left at home, I am 99% packed, my passport has new pages, I have purchased all of my flights and I have every possible medication/toiletry that I will need, probably for the next year. As my anxiety sets in, so does my excitement. I can’t wait for all the stories I will have to share.