Planning a trip around the world is serious business. Do you start in Fiji? Do you start in South America? Do you talk about it all?
People seem to have the same reaction when you lay it on them that you’re living out of a backpack for a year to wash baby elephants and eat weird fruits. You’ve been tuning into the travel channel’s many cultural exploits, discerning how easy it would be if you didn’t have a network budget and a camera crew. You still feel pretty okay about it.
Sometimes, thinking about not seeing anybody you know for a year, thinking about getting into the wrong cab or meeting the wrong people scares the shit out of you. What are you going to do when you get stuck at customs in Kenya? Do you have a plan? You don’t. But you take a deep breath and tell yourself you’ll figure it out, and you’ll be all the better for it.
Things you have to remember:
I) Despite your plans for African adventure and time spent near the sea, you will not be living like Hemingway.
II) Even though everyone tells you to write a book about this, and then just “coast”, remember this trip is about making memories as quickly as possible. You have to take the chances one right after the other and then hope you remember the way it felt on the 18 hour bus ride.
III) You will be peeing into holes in the ground. You will come out of this experience all the better for it.
IV) Everything is going to be okay, because everything happens for a reason, you just have to remember to wear sunscreen.
Everyone is worried for you. So worried you almost feel like you don’t have to worry yourself. You aren’t worried though, because when you come back, at least, this is what you tell yourself, you will be a totally different person, and that person doesn’t have to worry about having an hour to get ready for the party, because no matter how you look you’ll have the best stories, and isn’t that what really matters?
Right now everyone is mad at you because you are going around the world for a year. Seeing everything and eating everything and sleeping on floors in countries with civil wars and poisonous bugs and as much as they are looking forward to their entry level jobs and first years of graduate school, they want to come too. They’re mad at you because you get to be the one to use your zoom lens on the poisonous bug and eat the weird fruit and have the best stories. So you can’t be scared, you just have to go, because you’ll be all the better for it.