Only a few days until I start my journey around the world and I am nervous, excited, scared, elated, stressed, and happy all at the same time! My bags are packed, the hotel reservations are confirmed, and the flights are booked, but a little anxiety is natural before a life changing trip, right? Below is a small list of what I am fretting about and what I am looking forward to:
Things That Make Me Nervous
Weight Requirements: I packed to the maximum limit (if not a little more) in all of my bags. We each get a checked bag at 44lbs, a carry on at 22lbs, and a personal item. Our luggage is carefully packed with the bare minimum of necessities and I would hate to give anything up at the last minute. I have been “that girl” at the airport before. I wear 25 layers of my heaviest clothes, shift everything to a carry-on, and stuff my ridiculously large purse full of shoes. With 17 flights scheduled and the chaos of international airports, I cannot afford packing panic at the gate!
Home Schooling: Every time I talk to other home schooling mamas they swear that it is the best choice they ever made. I happen to be overly qualified for the position! I am earning a living this year by teaching Art History to university students online. So why am I so scared? Middle School Math. I am not sure who will end up in tears first, and every time I think about fractions I break a sweat. If you have any suggestions on how to keep my sanity through this process, please let me know!
Separation from JR: As a husband and wife team we are relatively well equipped to deal with this six weeks on/six weeks off schedule. We are independent, considerate, and communicative. However, I would love for him to be with us the whole time. The first time he leaves us in Europe will be hard, and the next time I leave him on New Year’s Day for Asia will be even more difficult. No one wants to be apart from their loved ones, but we ultimately decided that we could sacrifice the time together for one year if it meant that we could follow our dreams AND keep our jobs.
Elijah’s Homesickness: While this was a family decision, and one we are all looking forward to, I am expecting all of us to have extreme loneliness at different times. Train stations, airports, hotel arrangements, and navigation challenges can wear on anyone’s patience, and preteens don’t have much to begin with. I hope that I can guide him through the temporary sadness so that he can enjoy all that this experience will have to offer.
Things I am Excited For
Family Growth: For the last two years I have seen our small family unit slide into a routine that included work/school, dinner at different times, and more work on our electronic devices until bed. We should have done better. We should have made time to connect. We should have been more involved in our community and church, but habits are hard to break. I am excited for the opportunity to connect through these new shared experiences. If nothing else, a limited amount of Wi-Fi will be good for all of us! Ultimately, a connected family takes dedication and time, and this our chance to put family first!
THE FOOD: This has to be one of the most exciting parts of travel for us! I am so lucky Elijah has adventurous taste buds! He loves trying new things, using new ingredients when he cooks, and challenging himself to learn about local produce. He is a boy after my own heart, and I can’t wait to eat our way around the world.
Meeting New People: I am an extrovert and social to a fault. I loved living in major metropolitan areas like Boston, NYC, and Miami because of the various people I could interact with every day. I enjoy listening to a stranger’s life story on a long train ride. I want to sit next to someone I have never met at a dinner party. New people enrich my life, and this year I get the chance to learn about the lives of others on a daily basis.
Searching for Beauty: It may seem easy to find beauty in Mykonos, the south of France, or in a Moroccan bazaar, but how do you present it in a way that no one has seen before? In our Instagram world, we scroll through stunning images in seconds. When the entire earth is online all the time, how do you show beauty that is often overlooked? I don’t know the answer to that question right now, but I hope to portray our world in an authentic, unique, and positive way while we travel. Searching for beauty will be a practice for me, and it is one that I hope will continue after my year of travel is done.