Today I Go

February 22, 2017

After months of planning, weeks of hypothesizing about potential outcomes, and hours of figuring out exactly what can fit into one suitcase, I am off. Sitting on my Southwest flight that first morning before pushing away from the gate brought the craziest slew of emotions. And by crazy, I mean that’s how my fellow passengers were likely judging me as tears streamed down my face and I lightly bobbed my head to one of the songs on a mix I put together for Dallas before leaving. It’s probably also the reason the flight attendants let me use expired drink coupons…genuine concern that if they said no, the tears would return in full force.

The actualization of something that’s been seemingly unobtainable for years is overwhelming. Once the brief turbulence of the flight subsided, so did some of the fears of my heart. In that moment as I gazed out the window at the plains of Kansas, I realized I am finally doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. And with that came a tremendous peace knowing that maybe, just maybe, I’m following a plan and a purpose that is bigger than anything I can grasp. For someone who has a tremendous fear of flying, gaining clarity and peace of any sort in those moments is a gift. But to experience it at this level was a game changer. I suddenly knew that, no matter what happens, I’m where I need to be.

As I eased into the flight and eventually into my day of layovers in both New York and Lisbon, I was able to settle my nerves and start engaging in the people, conversations and experiences around me. Nothing crazy or extraordinally happened in those first hours but to me, a couple simple moments stood out -

  1. Realizing after checking in for my first flight that I’d removed a debit card from my bag that I actually needed. Seeing as how Schwab puts a 4 day hold on funds transferred from external accounts, I then found myself without any access to cash until the 24th. Oops. A reminder to slow down.
  2. Striking up a conversation in the JFK terminal with a couple from Mexico. I asked them where they were from and hardly noticed when, seconds later, I continued the conversation in Spanish. It may be silly, but I was incredibly flattered when they complimented my Spanish and encouraged me in my concerns about learning the nuances of the language in Spain. It felt surreal to be using the language again and to see it seamlessly returning to my memory. A reminder that people will be gracious as I learn.
  3. I met a guy who seems to own a very shady business (or two) in West Ghana. He left his business card and told me to reach out to him about the type of work I’m looking for. Not a chance. A reminder to not trust everyone (happy mom and dad??).

Now, as Dallas made me promise, I will live fully in these moments and the ones to come. I will not return with any regrets of what might have been, had I fully invested. So here goes.