When I saw the size of the package, I realized that I had made a grave mistake. Does one bar of soap need to be in a box that big? While unboxing my hygiene product I realized that I had accidentally bought an 8-pack of bar soap. I just wanted one. I suppose I got a little too trigger happy with my Amazon shopping and forgot to read the fine print.
Normally buying in bulk is advantageous, but I just wanted one bar because I had plans — big plans. Nothing was written in stone, but my planner-oriented brain was already scheming up an adventure at the end of 2020. I wanted to pack my bags and see the world, meet new people, and learn new languages.
Well, fast forward to November 2021, and it turns out that bulk purchase of soap wasn’t the worst idea after all. The last bar is currently sitting in my backpack that I just checked on a plane headed to Rio de Janeiro. After scrapping my travel plans for more than a year due to the pandemic, I am ready to rekindle the fire and go abroad.
As my last piece of soap dwindles to its sudsy demise, I step into the next stage of my life. I decided that the time had come to pursue other goals that have taken a bit of a backseat during the last several years. I’m going to travel the world and leave behind the comfort of home. To the contrary, I am going to seek out discomfort, inserting myself into the unknown.
For the first time in my life, my future is an open book, free for me to write. There is no job awaiting me on Monday morning, no school to return to at summer’s end, and financially / institutionally speaking this is the least amount of responsibility that I have ever had in my adult life. I am looking forward to it, but I wouldn’t be human without the inevitable doubts that squirm their way into my mind.
The human brain has evolved to seek comfort and avoid risk. It’s a practical survival tool. If you have a safe shelter from predators near reliable water and food sources, why venture out into the danger of the unknown unless you are forced to?
While the world isn’t nearly as dangerous today as it was to early homo sapiens, these evolutional traits manifest in a similar fashion: Do I have enough money? What if I can’t find a decent job when I’m back? (Lord, please do not make me work retail ever again.) Am I making a mistake?
These feelings are only natural and, at least for me, they are easy to suppress by recalling past experiences. Taking those calculated risks and launching yourself into the unknown are often the most formative experiences in life. (At least in my experience. I can’t speak for everyone.)
As a result of pursuing a previously dormant set of objectives, I must bid farewell to my beloved home of San Diego, for now. It’s crazy to think that I lived more than a decade in the city. I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of its nooks and crannies, whether by surfing all up and down the coast, biking around the city streets, exploring its remote mountain wilderness, or mastering the tricks to crossing the US / Mexico border. I’ve grown to be spoiled by San Diego’s world-renowned weather, and somewhere along the way I gained a disdain for the brain-freezing water of my natal northern California. It’s been a ride.
This doesn’t mean that I’ll never come back, but it really sinks in when I realize that I haven’t left this city for more than several weeks at a time for so long. In San Diego I’ve spent nearly my entire adult life, had my one-and-only professional job, and formed many lifelong relationships. However, that chapter has come to an end and it was time to welcome the next. I was longing for the learning experiences of inserting myself into the unknown.
I am not exactly sure what the next months of life have store in for me, but I intentionally have planned very little. I will see where the twists and turns of life take me — a luxury and privilege that I’ve never had before.
I am simultaneously excited and nervous, but I am definitely looking forward to filling in the blank pages that are soon to be written on this adventure. Stay tuned.