Thursday, December 10, 2015

Time to Leave: Heading Down Under

The spring of my junior year of college, I got to travel. You could call it a study abroad program, but it was mostly just me wandering around Europe. I got to see picturesque places like The Colosseum.

I got to dip my toes into exotic water like the Adriatic Sea.

And I got to build a snowman in the Alps of Switzerland.

When I touched down on US soil in 2009, I promised myself I'd leave again. But life got in the way. I needed a job, a car, a dog. I had to pay bills, pay dues, pay time. Next thing I knew, six years had gone by, and I was still here.

Last spring, I watched a friend as she traveled solo for four months, and while I wasn't able to join her at the time, she inspired me to get up and go. Soon, I thought. And then over the summer, we said goodbye to a family friend, and I was reminded how short life really is--how you can't waste one moment. Now, I thought. It was time.

I often make decisions based on who I will be as an eighty-year-old women. Will I regret that dance? that class? that call? A friend once said, "Think about who you want to be in ten years, and make the choices today that will help you become her."

I'm seeing thirty quickly approach. I cannot--will not--let my adult life slip away without my permission. I will not wake up at forty-five and wonder where my youth went.

It's been to Europe. And now it's time for it to head down under.

So, I'm leaving. I'm packing up a backpack, stashing some cash, and heading out the door. Leaving a sitter for the dog and a to-do list for my job. For four weeks--four short, but lucky weeks--I am heading down under. To see a part of the world so different than my own.

Australia and the US have a lot in common--history, size, culture. But there's so much that's different. There's so much I don't know. There's so much to discover.

I'll hop over to New Zealand, too. There won't be enough time to see enough of either country, but I've got to try. I'll end in Fiji, mostly because I'm not convinced an island that pretty really exists. I've got to see it with my own eyes.

I hope to God that this won't be the last big adventure I get to take, but I also won't put it off any longer. It's been six years. I'm due again for a little leaving.

Follow me on my trip through this blog--I'll update as often as I can with anecdotes, photos, and itineraries. But if you don't hear from me, know this: the world is big and life is short and you've got to do everything you can to see as much of it as possible as soon as possible. Don't wait for the right moment. Don't wait for the stars to align. For your bank account to be full. For your calendar to open up.

Just go. Get out there. Leave.

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