When I decided to take a leap of faith and make plans to travel to Cambodia for six months, I felt empowered. After months of feeling like an imposter and a failure, this provided some much needed relief and confidence.
However the more I started planning and preparing for my impending departure, the more the stress, anxiety, and even regret started to set in. While the majority of people in my life lend incredible support, the few that ask one too many questions have slowly returned me to a blubbering anxious mess.
What will happen when you come back? It isn’t safe over there, why choose that place of all places?What will your boyfriend think? Do you have enough money to do that? Shouldn’t you be focusing on paying off your current debts?
All questions that already plague my mind on a daily basis are now amplified. Sure, my inability to properly sort through these emotions in a manner that does not plunge me into despair is likely the cause and not the pestering inquiries… But that does not diminish the fact that I am once again in a moment full of pre departure stress. Much like how I felt before I journeyed to Scotland, I am overwhelmed with my decision and everything that must be done to prepare for it.
A self proclaimed queen of planning and research, significant progress has been made on my list of things to do before I embark on my flight to the Kingdom of Wonder. I paid my deposit, submitted a CV and background check to the program, completed my volunteer training, purchased an expensive and long plane ticket, and made an appointment to get my vaccinations. But even with this laundry list of things finished, there is still so much to be done.
Travel insurance must be purchased, painful shots must be administered, and international phone plans must be sorted out. Once again I will have to transfer all my savings into another bank account and pray it is enough to last me the time I am away. Climate appropriate clothing will need to be bought and massive suitcases packed. A final payment must be made. And even though I have combed the internet for weeks, more must be learned about my future home.
I will not go as far to say as I wish I was not going or that I plan on cancelling the trip, however there is part of me that wonders if this was the right thing to do. And that thought is how I know that this is indeed the right thing to do.
I am a creature of habit, a planner, a hermit. I thrive on consistency and routine, rarely venturing out of what I know. But as the cheesey, but accurate, saying goes: life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Going on a potentially life-changing adventure is not supposed to be easy every step of the way. Nor would it make sense for me to be comfortable and confident in my decision all of the time. For if I felt totally comfortable and confident in what I was doing, then I would not be challenging myself or pushing myself into the life I want to live and into the person I aspire to be.
My current life, one mostly of certainty and without drastic change, was not working for me. If the chapter of my life I begin next is an easy transition with no glaring challenges to overcome, then am I really starting a new chapter? Turning over a new leaf? Pushing myself to transform, adapt, and begin a metamorphosis into the person I know is somewhere inside of me that I desperately wish to become?
“If at some point you don’t ask yourself “What have I gotten myself into?” then you’re not doing it right.” – Roland Gau
This is change, and it is not supposed to be easy nor am I supposed to feel comfortable with it the entire time. The important thing is that with all this uncertainty, anxiety, and doubt, that I press on and push myself to embrace this new journey.
In my moments of apprehension, I remind myself that simply questioning my decision does not make it wrong. As a human I am naturally inquisitive, and coming into contact with this suspicion or concern is part of the process. The more I plan my trip and it becomes real, the more difficult and tricky situations will arise, but these are all part of the journey and things that I can and will overcome.
Just because things are, in reality, more complicated than I thought, or perhaps hoped, does not mean I made a mistake or that I was “wrong” in my choice. In times of doubt, anyone can stubbornly think they are wrong, but it takes great maturity to refuse defeat and instead seek change or ask for advice. But in order to allow for self transformation, we must first realize we deserve it, and that requires a great frankness to ourselves. Honesty is the best policy; never fool the person in the mirror.
“The journey is part of the experience, an expression of one’s intent.
One does not take a train to Mecca.” – Anthony Bourdain