Scared to take off?! Don't worry, I was too!
Scared to take off? Don't worry, I was too!
I grew up fortunate enough to be able to travel out of the country a few times with my family. I’d been to Costa Rica, five countries in Europe, Mexico, etc. but always with family or friends. Never alone. This would be my fist solo trip. You would think that I would plan out everything... nope, not even close. I knew I had a backpack that I found in college that would be big enough to fit the 12kg of luggage I planned to carry. I had a one way ticket landing in London and a Eurorail three month continuous pass. I didn’t know what the heck to expect or what kind of people I would meet, who I would hang out with, what I would see or do, or how it would affect me and my personality. Truth be told, I was pretrified.
I think if you ask anyone that has taken off on a solo trip that the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as you are speeding down the runway about to lift off into the sky towards your destination is liberating, scary, and everything else all at once. I had tears in my eyes. Sobbing would be more appropriate. I am not sure what took over me. It was a bizarre feeling not knowing anything. I had no idea what I was in store for.
I know you’re probably thinking, "I can’t just pick up and leave like that, she had everything fall into place." Yes, I didn’t have anything specific tying me to California anymore, but I could have easily just slipped into another career, got another apartment and went on with my days in San Jose. That's what was expected of me anyways. It might sound like everything fell into place and it was an easy transition, but to tell you the truth I struggled. I was 24 and lost.
I didn’t know who I was anymore. I worked so much my life became my job and I was so wrapped up in an eating disorder I didn’t know which way was up or down. Before the eating disorder, I was dealing with medical issues for almost two years and couldn’t tell you the last time I was genuinely proud or happy in my own skin.
I know you hear all the cliche sayings, “traveling changed me” and “I am a different person now”, trust me, I thought it was a load of horse poop too. I didn’t know that this trip would have such an incredible impact on my life. It challenged all of my boundaries and forced me to get to know myself. It taught me about different cultures and allowed me to explore beautiful countries all whilst saving my life from an eating disorder. It forced me out of the California bubble and the American mindset and expectations that I had always be constrained to. It taught me to not care if I had makeup on or if I was having a bad hair day.
I regarded myself as an educated individual with sales experience before I left, but I had no idea how naive I was until I was able to visit other countries. You only know what you are taught and what are are taught is strongly influenced by the media... Teach yourself, talk to as many people as possible, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to be wrong. Once you break free from all the bull honkey you find out there is more to life than what kind of car you drive or purse you carry.
The beauty of traveling is you don't need to be rich. You just need enough money to buy a ticket and a little bit of spending money until you can find a job. There are many ways to make money abroad whether it be food and beverage, hospitality, sales, etc... My motto is you only live once and you never know what is going to happen tomorrow so you might as well spend your money while you can and explore the world while you're young. There is no time like the present!
After all this time, I still get nervous before a trip. I would be lying if I said it gets easier to leave you family and friends, but once you do leave you will realize how lucky you are to have those people in your life. You will realize how lucky you are to be able to travel and see the world. It was just what I needed to wake up and realize I was slowly killing myself with an eating disorder.
If there is anyone out there struggling with an eating disorder know you're not alone. It took many years for me to grow out of my urges, but I finally did it and I've never felt more liberated. The cure: jumping out of my comfort zone & leaving my current daily life for something brand new.
Please email me if you need someone to talk to! The whole world is here to support you and we want you to know that you are ENOUGH!