"Why the hell is a frying pan on your packing list?" my mom asked me as we sorted through my clothes and toiletries, preparing to pile everything into the two largest suitcases that we owned.
"Because it's either that or I'm going to be ordering kangaroo burgers and vegemite to go every night for five months," I argued back.
The idea of leaving home for five months to go to the other side of the world hadn't phased me for months. Not when I was planning the trip or applying to the study abroad program I chose. Not even when I started my Visa application and found the apartment I would live in. I found the idea of living out of two suitcases thrilling, as I had always been a serial over-packer and had filled up almost two trucks with my stuff when moving into my first college apartment. I was excited for the challenge.
Then I went home after the semester had ended. I only had two weeks at home before I had to leave for Australia. I thought it would be plenty of time to pack. Plenty of time to see everybody I'd missed during the year and say my goodbyes. Plenty of time to mentally prepare myself for the journey I was about to embark on. I was wrong.
I am currently exactly fifty-two hours away from the longest flight of my life and am totally freaking out. After procrastinating for about nine days, I finally packed my bags (frying pan included) and have a list of essentials that I still need to purchase. My mom forced me to filter out any shoes I didn't absolutely need, sorry Steve Madden strappy sandals with the cute chunky heel. I'm actually bringing all closed shoes that maximize skin coverage because, as my brother so kindly pointed out, "the poisonous things tend to hang out on the ground." So I'm going to pretend that the Coastal Taipan snake with 13 millimeter-long fangs can't bite through my fake leather combat boots (it totally can).
I'm doing my best to think positively about this. I can't let the nerves keep getting to me. I felt so confident about this for so long, why can't that feeling just continue long enough to get me onto the plane? I feel like I've tricked myself into believing that I'm some spontaneous, adventurous world traveler just because I can be. But I've always traveled in a group. Never alone. Alone is scary.
Alone is scary and goodbyes are hard. I know that in the grand scheme of things, five months is not an extremely significant amount of time in my life. But then I think about how much can happen in five months. I think about how much has happened in the two short weeks that I've been home. Change isn't something that you always have control over, especially not from 10,000 miles away.
I have to apologize. I meant for this post to be an exciting summary of what it's like trying to fit my life into two suitcases and it turned into me venting about how freaking nervous I am to be leaving home for five months. But I guess that's reality. I promise that I will get over these nerves and the sadness I'm feeling leaving everybody behind so that I can have a KICK ASS time in Australia. I will share all of my fun adventures and crazy experiences. I'll let you know what I think of kangaroo burgers and vegemite because, even though the idea of consuming those things utterly repulses me, I know that I'm going to have to try them.
Thanks for hanging in here with me, if you did. I totally don't blame you if you stopped reading halfway through when my train of thought completely went off the rails. I'll be back with updates when I'm on the other side (of the world).