With the end of sophomore year and the summer of turning 20, I will be in Washington state pursuing a sustainable farming internship. I leave on the 15th of May and return the end of June, and for the first time in my life, I will be away from home on my birthday as well as conquering one of my biggest fears: travelling solo.
Doesn’t it scare you? Leaving and being on your own for the first time in life? You don’t know how to drive, how to ride a bike, or even how to make your own food. I object. What are people going to say? Where are you going to stay? Who is going to pick you up from the airport when you land? Are they trustworthy? You will always go with anyone, how can we be so sure you will go safely?
I get it, the people that I have told my fears too have told me one thing in response: you will be ok. But I still cannot seem to grasp the butterflies in my stomach and the cloudiness in my brain when I hear the word solo. It is a word defined by the emotions it represents: freedom, independence, and more often than not, is associated with the feelings of being so tired of a specific place that all you want to do is run from it.
My dad always used to tell me stories of the Himalayas when I was growing up. Hiking amongst the majestic, snow covered peaks with his sandals being broken with each weary step he took. I will be surrounded by forests and a long, snaking river, carving its way through the landscape of my mind, defining it with every crash, bubble, and gurgle of a child. It is where I was meant to be and where I will always be going towards.
The fear that I have is not singular, no. It is an integrated feeling that has been drilled into my head from when I was very young, that travelling was dangerous. That as a girl, I am often going to be a target. That things would happen. And I did not think I would be confronting that fear so soon in my life. But, while I confront my fear of the unknown, the personality that I have developed over 2 years that dosent give a single shit about it comes out.
A storm rages inside her mind as the boat crashes towards the watery depths of the ocean. Lightning strikes, with the dark, swirling clouds of Maleficent’s castle on a cliff make me start to cry in the airport. The tears rush down, as salty as the ocean as I fly over, as I look down in awe. 5 minutes later, the sun comes out.
Life is too short to keep living in our fears and not step out the box, and believe me, I don’t plan on sitting down and watching. There is an adventure ahead of me, and boy am I gonna run after it.