Italy: Lake Como

The day has finally arrived, I leave the US with a one way ticket to Italy, and wow, was it a stress. If you know anything about me, let's just say you probably know I am not the greatest with time management. When I am not mentally prepared for something I need to do, I hold it off until the last minute in hopes of it not fully becoming a reality. I had done just that with packing for this trip. It was not at all that I hoped this wasn't going to become a reality, I was just super anxious and emotions were high.

In my head, the actual packing and sorting clothes was not going to be the difficult part, but it was the fact that I did not know the length, the locations, or the types of activities I would be doing while traveling. This trip was so unknown that I did not want to fully commit and prepare because I was scared. Scared that I would be leaving the country, alone, with nothing known or guaranteed.

I planned to pack for three months but as I started to do so, I found myself breaking down at the smallest imperfection. I started to set aside the clothes I wanted to bring and they started to slowly pile up. What seemed like nothing started to grow into larger and larger piles.

Finally, I was content and started to pack them into my suitcase. I rolled very piece of clothing as small as it could get. Ready to pack everything up, and I felt fine about it. I packed everything up. I fit my clothes, my shoes, and my electronics, but my toilettrees were still missing and there was no more space. So, I started over. I packed my clothes, my shoes, and my toiletries, but then, no room for my electronics. I would not accept that everything wouldn't fit into one bag. I tried every combination, tried to take some things out, and packed it about five more times, but none of the times did it get easier. Each time it seemed like the backpack was shrinking. I could not keep my emotions in and finally everything just hit me. 

This freaked me out more than anything I had ever experienced. Yes, in 2011 I went through a similar experience, leaving for Brazil, but that trip was much more structured. In Brazil, I had a number of people looking out for me throughout the entire year. This trip was different. It was just me. Just me, looking out for myself. I had never been in a situation like this, that I was going to be only dependent on myself. And that is what really scared me.

It is not that I do not trust myself or trust my instincts, but it hit me that I needed to grow up, and this was it. Staring my version of the so called "real world" right in the eyes. I think living at home, or close to it, for the past years really made me more anxious and uncomfortable with being alone.

This brings me to my first goal of this experience, to learn. Not only to learn about the places I visit, but to learn about myself and learn how to express my needs. And my second goal, which is to listen. To listen to my gut, my body, and my instincts. I guess it was time to put that to the test again. It has been a long time coming, but here we go!