Cauliflower is such an ugly vegetable. It’s like broccoli’s ugly sister. The clouds hovering over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado look just like cauliflower. But they’re beautiful, especially from a cruising altitude of 35,987.5 feet.

Over the past few days I haven’t been able to stop crying—crying because of fear, crying because of loss, crying because of the fear of losing. There I was about to embark on what will probably be the biggest adventure of my entire life and I was sad about it. Mortified. I was ready to cancel my flight, consider all of the money I had already invested a sunk cost. I just needed one person to tell me “Carly, you don’t have to go,” and I would have been done. Thank God nobody told me that.

I am about four hours into a twenty-five hour journey, not even one percent of the way into this entire five month adventure, and I am absolutely wonderstruck. The simple pleasure of gazing out my small economy-class window as we flew over the Rocky Mountain range was enough to change my mind. Enough to excite me for everything that has yet to come. I’m not even going to Colorado, and I don’t know when in my life I’ll ever go there (although I hope that it’s soon).

It’s amazing how being so high up has made me realize how small I really am and how little I’ve actually done. I think that leading into this trip, I had some kind of vagabond complex. In the last calendar year, I’ve seen more of the world than I had in my entire previous nineteen years and I honestly felt really cool about it. I was better traveled than the majority of my friends and had this huge Australian voyage coming up. But now I’m realizing how much more I have to see and how appreciative I should be for all of the opportunities that have been presented to me.

Until about an hour ago, the furthest west I’d been was Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve been craving the west coast for so long, I even almost booked a spontaneous flight to Colorado a few months back. Kind of regretting not doing that now.  All I wanted was to see the mountains and the canyons and now I can say that I have. Granted it was from a distance, but I definitely saw them, and it reignited the adventurous spirit that had provoked me to go to Australia in the first place.

Gosh, it’s so hard to peel my eyes from my window right now. There is so much to see and it’s all going by so fast. Going by at 418 miles per hour, to be exact. I’m trying to make out every little crevice in the canyons, follow the mountain ranges all the way to their ends and figure out where all of the two-lane roads going through the middle of nowhere lead. It’s all such a mystery and it leaves me yearning for so much more.

I was so nervous that I would land in Australia and impulsively buy a plane ticket to go right back home. Or at least be tempted to. But I don’t think that I have to worry about that anymore. Sure, I’ll be overwhelmed. I’ll be lonely and probably even a little bit homesick. But those cauliflower clouds helped to remind me of my purpose, what my intentions had been so many months ago when this dream had first become a reality. Thanks for being so beautiful Mother Nature, you really know how to capture a girl’s heart and change her mind.