A few thoughts as my last week at home goes “over the hump” and my departure date draws nearer…
It is finally starting to dawn on me that I will be spending the next 365+ days traveling around the world. The past few months I’d felt like I was talking about someone else’s imminent adventures when talking about my project, but it’s finally starting to dawn on me that I will be the one traveling.
As of right now I have lodgings set up for a total of 1 week of 52. (My first week will be in a hostel in London). While this fact seems to be an object of great consternation to my mother, I’m actually most excited about this aspect of the trip. The lack of structure and complete lack of planning the minutia of my days is oddly liberating after the past four years at Davidson. I’ve taken great pleasure this past week in not having any specific schedule to adhere to. Yes, there are lots of doctor and dentist appointments to go to, friends to visit over the brief window of time that I’m home, and a plethora of things to be purchased/done. But all of this is done on MY time, without the need for scheduling everything short of bathroom breaks into the Outlook Calendar that I’ve gotten so accustomed to at school.
This definitely does not mean that I’m not planning anything, quite the contrary. But I am looking forward to waking up each morning to the thought “What am I going to do today?” instead of “Sh--, I wish I didn’t need to sleep. I could have gotten so much done in the last (insert small number dictated by the amount of time before my next race).” While I am certain that I will not spend my days wandering around aimlessly without anything to do, I am definitely looking forward to a different type of schedule and a different agenda. I will keep you posted on how long this feeling lasts. (*Also, if you have friends or family in any of my destinations that would welcome me on their couch for a few days, locations mentioned in my earlier post, I would greatly appreciate their contact info, even if it’s just to have someone to grab coffee with if I get lonely and want to talk about you.)
While recently describing the idea of “I was given a grant to go around the world to go get lost for a year studying a sport in which people jump off buildings” to a friend that was curious about my plans, I was asked the question: What are you looking forward to the most?
The freedom? The lack of plans? The traveling? The long airplane flights? The new people? The new sights? The amazing feats of athleticism that I’m sure to witness? The foods? The beautiful women (I have been assured by numerous people that Argentina, Italy, or Brazil have “the most beautiful women in the world”- I’ll let you know my vote next July). Actually, I think that the part of it that I’m looking forward to the most is the sheer adventure of it all. I will be traveling around the world to study a sport/discipline that very few people have had the opportunity to study on a similar global scale, and ideally to find a way to make it into an effective agent for social change. Hopefully I will make great friends within a community that includes people from pretty much any country in the world. What more could I ask for?
Am I nervous about it? I would be an absolute idiot to answer “No”, but I have found myself struggling to describe what I’m nervous about. Yes, I do have the scenario playing in my head where I arrive in a new place only to find that my hostel reservation didn’t go through or my contact didn’t show. I’m friendless, hungry, tired, hungry, without lodging, hungry, clueless as to what to do next, and most dire- hungry. But despite that, I know that I can deal with all of these things. Yes, there will be uncomfortable moments, but there will also be amazing moments that I hope will greatly outbalance the former. Also, I know that I like traveling, meeting new people, and exploring new places, and there will certainly not be a shortage of these things.
In summation, I know that this year will be different. I will be separated from. Nights out in Boston, Track parties, BOTP, locker room antics, visits from alum, late nights in the library, Dance Ensemble, and the extensive friend base that I have developed at home and at Davidson the past few years will be thousands of miles, or at least an email/Skype call away. Family dinners and reunions will most likely be replaced with foods that probably would be considered “dinner food” at home, and our unique “Evitt-style” of banter will be replaced by new faces, new ideas, and new languages. Although I will miss all that I’m leaving behind, I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead. I know that the friends and loved ones that I am leaving behind will be there when I come back and I hope that they can derive some sort of benefit from following my adventures (at least as comedic entertainment).