Well, it's happening. On January 13th of this year, I booked a one-way flight to Reykjavik, Iceland, and then on to Stockholm, Sweden, with only a vague idea of what I was doing. Would my job give me the time off? How long would I be gone for? Would I come back? Where else would I go? I've answered these questions since then (yes; one month; yes; and lots of places) but I still feel an a little bit anxiety going into this trip, in addition to the overflowing excitement.
At 28 years old, I'm older than most people when they do their first solo trip abroad, but at the same time, I can't help but think I am in the minority of Americans for taking a solo trip abroad at all. Most people that I've told about my trip respond by saying, "A month??! How did you get a month off?!" Because in The States, and especially in the uber-competitive, career-centric world of New York City, getting a month off seems about as impossible as those trips to Mars. Like, maaaaybe you'll get one, but even if you did, you probably wouldn't make it back.
Honestly, it took a lot of courage, but I asked my employer for the month (with three months prior warning to the date) and... they approved it. I was nervous about asking, because what if they said no? What if they were disgusted by the gall I had to make such an "outrageous" request? What if they thought my desire for a long trip meant I didn't want to be there anymore, and just decided to fire me? Who did I think I was?? How dare I think I was special enough to check out of the non-stop culture of work work work to grow and better myself as a person and have unique life experiences?? These were all real things I thought that caused me a lot of anxiety, but in the end, they said yes, and though I still feel self-conscious when telling friends and co-workers I'm traveling for a month (because how dare I!!!) I have to keep repeating to myself: this is important. I earned this. I am worth it.
And so last night, I spent hours packing and cleaning like a crazy person to get ready for the trip that is finally coming to be.
In the whirlwind of preparing for a month long trip, which included taking a trip to Baltimore to tearfully leave my pup with my parents as well as making my apartment as neat and spotless as possible for my incoming AirBnb'er, I have no idea how people have the time and artistic attention to make their packing look good. But, making my packing look good is not what this is about. (It's kind of what it was about.) Guess I'll have to sideline my potential future career as a packing stylist (as I cram all of this stuff into my backpack).
So I've stuffed all my clothing into bags (much more neatly and methodically than I am suggesting), loaded up my many devices with media and books, put some kind-of healthy snacks (jerky and dried fruit) into my carry-on, and am just about ready to head to the airport.
Here goes nothing (or everything maybe? Who came up with this saying?)