"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see specks dispersing? It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's goodbye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."-Jack Kerouac
It is hard to put into words how fortunate I am. I am so full of love for my family, friends and the emerald city I have called home most of my life. It is with this beautiful foundation I am boarding the plane for South America.
This journey started as an idea, stirred up while pouring over grad-school textbooks and glasses of study wine. I found myself refreshing The Lonely Planet website, and picturing myself anywhere other than in my Queen Anne basement. Instead of researching beaches and resorts, I was drawn to the romantic dirt roads and bright port cities of South America. I wanted passion, grit and something to challenge my ability to not only survive, but to live. This whim turned into a plan when I announced to my family "I am going to leave and go to South America." Half testing the waters, met with surprise and support, these words concreted my daydream into a resolution. Slowly, I started to tell close friends, realizing that with each acknowledgement, my leaving became real. I sold my car, donated my belongings, quit a job I loved, packed a backpack, and now here I am, less than 12 hours away from my departure.
During the past year of anticipation, preparation and contemplation, I feel like I have ran through a gauntlet of emotions. I have felt my heart being pulled by wanderlust, nomad-ism and excitement, but also by sadness, fear and denial of what I was "giving up". Now, as the day is here, I feel like I have gone full circle. What means the most I will carry with me, and this realization gives me fortitude and strength. I now know that the friendships I have made cannot be severed by miles or time. What fits in my backpack will let me survive, but what I am carrying in my heart will give me life. I am full of love, excitement and a sense of adventure. I am ready.