Episode 1-Pre-departure Pep Talk (to myself))

Hold the phone…WHAT?! Departure is only 2 weeks away?? How did that happen? Although the anticipation of that day has been building for 3 years now…part of me feels like it’s still eons away.  Maybe it’s the fact that this past semester has absolutely flown by, and I feel like it should still be September (anybody with me on that?). Or maybe it’s the stress of an even faster approaching set of finals that I have to get through first. Or maybe because I’ve been distracting myself, trying not to get too excited so that I stay at least somewhat motivated to finish this semester strong. Regardless, small daily reminders…the emails, confirmations, questions and checklists…are starting to make my impending adventure finally feel like reality. But will I be ready?

This is about the point in time when I should be freaking out about packing, goodbyes, traveling solo and the general unknown; especially given my type-A personality. I typically function best on a schedule, with a plan and always well prepared. I’m used to a certain routine, one that I’ve grown quite comfortable with. This, however, is exactly the reason I NEED to get out of Wisconsin…outside of my comfort zone. I’ve come to realize and (more importantly) accept the fact that a type-A mindset and studying abroad don’t go hand in hand, not if I want to get the most out of this experience. The essence of studying abroad is in the adventure, the unfamiliar, the spontaneity and the journey. It should be about taking things as they come, going with the flow and accepting the unexpected; having the time of your life doing it. I’ve made the conscious decision that on this journey of mine, there is no room for checklists, set-in-stone plans, routines or expectations. I’m turning my type-A personality off, and ready to grow because of it.

This mentality starts with departure. I will not freak out about packing, no matter what I will have clothes to wear and basic necessities. I will not freak out about goodbyes; after all I’ll be back before I know it, and that’s what cellphones are for right? I will not freak out about traveling alone; I have to jump before I can learn to fly. And I will not worry about the unknown; the best things in life are yet to come. So…to answer my own question, I will be ready. I will be ready to embrace this incredible opportunity, with an open mind and an empty agenda. I will be ready to meet knew people, learn new things, create new memories and step outside my box. I am fully aware of my destination, but in reality it’s all about the journey.

Stay tuned folks, the adventure will soon begin…and its bound to be a good one.