I was born with a need to meet new people and see new places in my heart. It has become my norm to feel restless. This restlessness can only be quelled by adventure. Sometimes I can stick a bandage on it by dreaming of my next adventure, but nothing works as well as seeing new landscapes and hearing new accents.
When I was young, my parents divorced. My mom and I moved to Georgia and my dad remained in Michigan. I would either fly to see my dad or we would take an epic cross-country road trip. At the age of eight, I would research new places to go before we left. I would usually present my dad with a long list of sightseeing opportunities, hole in the wall restaurants, and especially a list of state and national parks. My favorite while growing up was, by far, Mammoth Caves National Park. There was always a new trail or cave for me to adventure through. The road trip usually didn’t end once we reached the small town that my dad lived in. We would often continue up the west coast of Michigan, across the Mackinac Bridge and into the upper peninsula. It was a whole new world once you crossed the bridge. The accents changed and the word “eh” became as common as a period in a sentence. I was giddy while I explored new forests and tried new foods. I never understood how a five-mile bridge could lead to a completely different place. This sparked the curiosity in me to travel further. If a short five-mile bridge could create such differences in people, what could whole oceans do?
So, I began writing a list of countries that I wanted to see. I knew that one day, I would travel across oceans and immerse myself in new cultures. However, I also knew that I needed time to plan trips and save money. So, I did just that. In the meantime, I found adventures in other ways. I began backpacking through various state parks. I found a passion for nature and “finding myself” amongst backcountry trails. This spurred me to research countries with the best backpacking. At the top of my list sits Scotland. The landscape draws me in like little else. So when Dr. Rubenstein asked if I had ever considered studying abroad, I tuned in.
My decision was solidified when Dr. Rubenstein explained to me that we would be teaching students at a local primary school. I know that this isn’t the trip that I had in mind but my passions are not only limited to backpacking or traveling in general. I have a heart for educating students. Teachers are able to leave such a beautiful impact on students and the world. To be able to merge my two passions in one trip has my heart singing.
Preparing for my trip to Scotland has been full of smiles and squeals as I think about what opportunities I have been afforded. As many adventures as I have made a point to take, I have never left the country. I am eager to walk through the doors of the airport tomorrow to begin this adventure. I cannot deny that I do hold anxiety over the logistics of traveling. Being the ENFP that I am, I love adventure, but I am not geared toward the tedious thought processes that are required to nail down every detail. My bag sits on my bedroom floor with one sweater in it and I board the plane in approximately 26 hours. I have created roughly forty-six “final” packing lists, none of which are near “final.” My enthusiasm for travel does not include enthusiasm for packing. I usually am a bare-bones type of person. Backpacking has taught me that. After all, you have to carry everything that you need on your back when you are miles from the closest person. This type of packing, well.. it is different. What if I pack too much or too little? Will my converter/adapter work? Will I forget a coat? A thousand questions have run through my head this morning. I just have to trust myself. If I can carry everything I need to backpack in the backcountry, I can easily pack everything I need for this trip as well. These anxieties are running rampant today, but if it is the price to pay to calm my adventure seeking restlessness, I am quite a willing participant.
I am ready to join my friends on the trip of a lifetime. I am ready to see new landscapes. I am ready to try new foods. I am ready to hear new accents and meet new people. I am ready to engage with students from across the ocean. I am ready to embrace a new culture. I am ready for this adventure. I am ready.