Anticipation, excitement, and a hint of sadness filled the thick Georgia air yesterday morning. The day was finally here: May 12, 2015. My eyes popped opened several minutes before the 5AM alarm.

“We need to track attrition and retention KPIs. Let me go update the spreadsheet. Oh yeah, I need to buy some dryer sheets and put more plastic bags in my luggage. I hope I didn’t forget anything. Crap, I can’t believe I’m saying goodbye to my family in 2 hours.”

Usually nights leading up to any extended trip are stress-filled all-nighters that involve little preparation and a lot of last-minute scrambling. Not this time. This morning felt different. It was the start of a new chapter; a chapter that was outlined many years before.

I threw my new internal-frame backpack (aka I’m a legit world traveler now) and my Timbuk2 bag into the backseat of my car. Saying goodbye to Lucy was heartbreaking, not only because she knows this isn’t a 2 week trip, but also because 2008 was the last time I left her for more than a few weeks. Layla, bless her heart, didn’t have a clue. Sean took me to work at Tech Square, we had an emotional goodbye, and he left. 😥

I flew Southwest to Fort Lauderdale, took an Uber to Miami International, hopped on a plane to Mexico City, and, after a four hour layover, boarded a plane to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. I’m flying into Rio a day earlier than Amelia. It is our first trip abroad together. We had always planned to travel abroad when she graduated, er…GOT OUT from Georgia Tech. When Under30Experiences announced trips to Brazil for May 2015, it was the perfect opportunity and we signed up. (Special thanks to Mary for talking some sense into Amelia!)

This whole post started when I realized all of the “first times” that happened in one day! This was my first time flying Aeromexico. After staring at the plane’s wing for many hours, I can admit I am fascinated with their logo.

Last night was my first time in Mexico City, and thus my first Mexico passport stamp (you coulda stamped it a little harder buddy.) I listened to an entire (9 hour) audiobook in one sitting for the first time. I also had the luxury of experiencing the Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Mexico City (shown below) airports.

Travel can bring out the best and worst in people. Preparing for this trip was a life shift for me. And for all of my colleagues. But, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out why.

In the meantime, I have some rest to get caught up on after 27 hours of travel (and little sleep on the plane.)

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