Getting ready

How does one prepare to jump on a plane and travel abroad for an indefinite period of time?

Checklists. Lots of checklists.

Preparing for an adventure like this is akin to a full-time job, perhaps even more stressful. Gear, tickets, visas and insurance just took time and some planning. Some tasks, like voting, were as simple as receiving my ballot in the mail, marking a few boxes and returning it. Other tasks, like vaccinations, took multiple visits and far more needles than I typically enjoy. Selling my old camera and car required more time and energy but are thankfully with new owners. Finding my delightful kitten Milo a new home was and remains an emotional heartbreak; I adore that little orange fluffball. And finally, packing my remaining belongings into boxes in the basement of my parent’s house. Simple, right?

Milo Backpack: everything I have for this trip

And yet I constantly wonder, “what am I forgetting?”

These past few weeks were a blur of people and emotions. The morning following my “clap-out” from the Apple Store, I awoke with the realization I could do whatever I wanted with my day. As I consider that between high school and internships, college and work, I have never before found myself with complete freedom over my time I am both excited and more than a little nervous; my time belongs to me and no one else. Choosing how I spend my time—and more importantly, with whom—has proven a challenge unto itself. Thinking over these past three weeks, “goodbye” fails to fully convey the feelings and conversations with friends and family.

Here goes nothing.