11 July 2011

Away From Safe Harbor

Red Sails by Alastair Rae

The odds:
1.       I am the only person in my immediate family to own a passport. My dad was in the military overseas, and my mom once went to Canada for a day. That’s about the extent of their international travel. I imagine that this is not the greatest foundation for a young, do-it-yourself traveler.
2.       We’ve had several family vacations—loading up the vehicle with half the contents of our house, filling the gas tank, and driving hundreds of miles to see some different places. We’ve had great times traveling this way, but I’ve had absolutely no experience traveling by myself—much less in a foreign country.
3.       I’ve never even flown in an airplane! I still don’t drive very much by myself, and am always around people I know and am familiar with.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m even capable of international travel.

It would seem that the cards are stacked against my dream trip to Britain, what with my lack of experience, lack of money, etc. But I’m still trying to make it! I’m scrimping every penny, doing lots of intensive research, and throwing up many a prayer. What keeps me going against the odds?

One thing is my family’s amazing support. My parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins  are 100% behind me and do so much to keep my dreams alive.

Here’s another thing: a quote from Mark Twain that enlightened and encouraged me to be bold, loose the anchors, and strike out to do something I’ve never conceived of before.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Before I settle down to a rigorous college schedule, to a job, to a normal life, I think I need to do something drastic, something real. I used to think that the concept of “discovering yourself” was stupid. How could you not know who you are? But now I realize that some people live their entire lives without realizing what their purpose is, what they’re passionate about, and what they’re capable of. I know that a trip overseas—solo or not—will test some of my furthermost limits. And I think I’m ready for that.

Red Sails, a photo by Alastair Rae on Flickr.


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