And She Goes
It was Wednesday morning around 11 a.m. when the email arrived.
“Congratulations!” the subject line said.
“Oh shit,” I thought.
I had interviewed with Remote Year the Wednesday before, and I’d been on pins and needles all week. My interview had gone well, but supposedly, thousands and thousands of people had applied for 75 spots. After I received the acceptance email, I had exactly two weeks to decide if I would go or not. Two weeks to decide if I’d leave home for an entire year to travel the world with a group of people I’d never met.
I was also scheduled to leave for a month-long trip to Vietnam in two weeks, so I was in full trip-prep mode (for me, this involves way too much research on Pinterest, obsessively checking the weather in various Vietnamese cities and the copious ordering of what I believed to be the perfect travel wardrobe for said weather).
Now that I knew they wanted me, I had to decide. “Do I want them?”
I talked to my friends about it. “You have to go,” was the consensus. “This program was made for you,” they urged. It was true. Most people who know me are familiar with my never-ending wanderlust. I pretty much want to go everywhere in the world and I have made traveling a priority over things like remodeling my old house or buying a fancy car.
On the upside, Remote Year would take me to ten countries (8 of which I hadn’t been to) and I’d have the experience of a lifetime. Maybe I’d get long-term travel out of my system or maybe it would fuel the fire.
On the downside, I’d be walking away from everything I know, at least for a while. Goodbye comfortable house. See you later, beautiful city I call home. Talk to you soon, fabulous friends and impossibly loving boyfriend.
I knew all that stuff would be hard, but I was also intimidated by the super long list of logistics. Find a renter for my house. Figure out what do with my car. Curate the perfect travel wardrobe for an entire year of travel. None of it sounds like a big deal when I write about it, but it felt really overwhelming when I was weighing out all my options. Plus, I’d be losing a month of prep time because of the Vietnam trip.
This decision was huge, and in the end, I thought about that bit of wisdom I often hear about regrets. “At the end of life, most people regret the things they didn’t do, not the things they did.” I knew that if I said “no” to this adventure, I’d always wonder. I was compelled to say “yes” to this.
So this morning, Jeff made me coffee (he makes it really strong, just how I like it) and calmly drove me to the airport. I was fine until I saw the exit. You know, the one with the little airplane icon. And then I broke down in tears. Jeff came inside with me, helped me carry everything and hugged me for a long time. I cried until I could barely see, and then we parted. I’m heading to New York to visit friends before I meet my Remote Year group. I know there will be lots of reasons to smile over the next year, but right now, I’m crying in the aisle seat.