One of my biggest fears about traveling the world for an extended period of time was that I would have to do it on my own. It’s wasn’t solitude or separation from my friends that made me nervous. I was more concerned about being lost in a foreign city with no idea of where to go or what to do.
This past weekend I came to realize how absurd that was. I was called for a job in Baltimore, MD (about 4 hours away from my home). I was set up with a nice hotel room, and had a great crew to work and socialize with. However, I decided to avoid those comforts brave the city on my own.
Although a US city not far from home doesn’t sound that intimidating, it was enough to let me know that I could adapt to my surroundings on my own. I was able to simply wander the city until I found a great sushi restaurant overlooking the water. I was able to walk around until I found a small bar with a pool table which I proceeded to run for most of the night. I was even able to make friends with a couple of my challengers and get a few free drinks in the process.
Even the moments I had alone were desirable. It gave me the time to truly perceive my surroundings and comprehend all that was happening. It allowed me to think clearer and realize that this experience was minimal compared to my other plunges into unfamiliar lands…
Last year, a friend and I spent 6 weeks road tripping around the west coast of the United States and Mexico; we were forced to find local restaurant and activities all of the time. Although the whole trip was amazing, it was the new and unexpected experiences that made the best memories. This allowed me to realize that being away from home for an extended period of time is healthy and rewarding.
When I was 14, I lived in Rome for the summer with my father. For about a month, during my days I worked as an intern as his company (Orbit Satellite Television), and was shown around by him during our time off. However, I had a few weeks off throughout the summer and I spent the days walking around the city on my own. I remember reading on the Spanish Steps, and ordering a beer during lunch at the local restaurants. It was exhilarating yet it all felt natural.
I realized that I had none of these fears then. Could it be that in the last 11 years, American society’s comfort in routine had affected me so much? Why was I nervous about something that I’ve done before… especially something I truly enjoyed? In hindsight, my previous trepidation seems almost childish. I feel more anxious for this trip then before. The anticipation is building for the day I leave, and all doubt is dissolving before my eyes.
Tags: - Preperation, - Reflection, - Transport & Travel, Baltimore, USA