Well, the day has finally arrived. I’m sitting on a plane on my way to Shanghai from Los Angeles, only an hour into what is going to be a 14 hour flight. I can’t believe how long it took for this day to get here, but I also can’t believe how quickly it came. I had so many plans to write about the crazy planning and packing and training I did to prepare for this day, but as I found myself constantly caught up in the madness with very little time to think and reflect, that never happened.
But now, I’m officially stuck in this seat for 13 more hours, and I couldn’t be more excited. I can’t stop thinking about the amazing adventures I have waiting for me across the ocean. I’m started to shift my mental focus away from work and friends and daily minutae towards something that has been enticing me to do a trip like this since I was a teenager – adventure.
In the next two months, I have so many things to look forward to – trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal, hiking and kayaking around Thailand, pretending to be Lara Croft while exploring Angkor Wat, wandering around Laos with a group of friends I haven’t even met yet, among many other things. I’ve been dreaming of doing a trip like this my entire life. I know there will be many challenges along with every triumph, but I feel ready to face them. I simply can’t wait to start exploring the places and meeting the people I’ve only read about in books.
But thing I’m most looking forward to is the adventure that I’m counting on happening in my mind and in my heart. This last year has been one of major change for me (though I could say that about nearly all the years in my 20s, as could most people!) and I’ve experienced a lot of emotional and mental upheaval. I quit a job I’d had for over 5 years and dove headfirst into the (initially) scary world of freelancing. A relationship ended. I lost a few dear family members. I spent much of the year on the road. I moved out of my apartment and into a storage unit. I worked harder than I ever worked before and finished my last job exhausted and ready for a break.
This trip is the opportunity I’ve been looking for to shift my focus inwardly. I’m going on this trip alone, and although I’m meeting an old friend in Nepal to trek with and my parents are joining me for the last week in Thailand, the bulk of my next two months will be spent with only myself and strangers as company. I’ve never undertaken a trip like this before and I see the entire two months as a serious truth test of my lifelong dream of being a long-term traveler. If I love it, like I’ve always imagined I would, then it may be time for a career change.
I’m thrilled at that prospect, and also a little afraid. What will I find in my own heart? What if my dream of traveling full time and exploring the world doesn’t live up to the dream I have in my head? What if I get lost? What if I get lonely? What if I get bored? (that last one is highly unlikely, but you never know!) What if everything I thought I wanted for myself – to be a full time traveler and freelancer – is not all it’s cracked up to be? What if it isn’t actually what I want?
What if it is?
In two months, I’ll hopefully know the answer to those questions. But for now, I’m going to cozy up to this window, try to calm my excitement and sleep. I have a hell of a lot of adventure waiting for me in 5562 miles.