It mirrors the events of two an a half years ago when I bounced out of work towards the EL as I headed off to then my great adventure. Instead of a sunny and warm June afternoon, it was a warm November day when I left work to embark on my solo adventure, 2.0 style. The sun shining like before, only lower but with the same warm rays on my face. As for me, I’m the same as before only two years older and a few more creaks in my joints.
Like the first great adventure, I’m excited and nervous. The great unknown before me and each step new to me. Probably the best part is that I’m going to experience it with friends again, only this time it will be friends of the Internet instead of friends in the days that passed. There will also be days where I will live and be completely alone, growing a experiencing a new country without knowing a single soul. So scary and yet so exciting. But first, I get to celebrate a wedding in a state that scares me from its size. Seriously, I didn’t know Walmart could get any bigger. My whole life complied into 25 days in one blooming epic trip. Friends and places of old, friends and places of new, and most important of all, the great unknown that each day brings.
With all that is before me, I can’t deny the truth. The truth that I am scared. Not terrified, just scared. I still don’t know why I’m embarking on this adventure, but I know that it is something I should do at this point of my life. Just like three Junes ago, this journey is for personal growth with a little adventure mixed in.
I’ve never traveled more than 2 driving hours for a wedding before. Now, I’m flying across state lines for a wedding of a dear college friend. I’ve known Jo since the first week if freshman year. Together, we were part of a close knit group that formed and stayed together all four years at Illinois. I am blessed and honor to be invited to celebrate a joyous day for such a dear old friend. Though I am sadden that I’m going to be the only one that can attend of our freshman group, I know the others would have made it if they could. Like my friend Sam said when we learned of the date, “No matter what, one of us will attend and represent the group.” And so here I am, present as promised, celebrating on behalf of Sam and the others who couldn’t attend. While joyously sharing and celebrating Jo’s wedding, I know it will confirm what already has started: the second wave has begun.
Australia is the least of my worries. I’ll be hanging it with friends from the Internet. It’s not like I haven’t traveled to meet Internet friends before, but this is slightly different. I have never traveled abroad to hang out my Internet peeps.
I’ve hung out with KT before, so there isn’t anything new. If anything, it’s my liver that I’m worried about because bloggers are known to cause hangovers. It would be fun just to hang out in Sydney and see it again. As for Terri, I’m stoked to meet her. We’ve known each other for awhile now, quite long if you account YouTube time. She asking with Kevin & Steve square off as my great YouTube friends. And let’s not forget about Becky, Louna and Andrew. Gosh, Melbourne is going to be a blast with so much nerding going on. My nerves are rocking, but it’s just like when I went to #nycmeetup. I know I’m freaking out for no reason, but we could blame it on the excitement.
Now New Zealand is going to be wild card. I don’t know what to expect there or how to prepare myself. It is uncharted territory for me. You could argue that it is like how Belgium was 29 months ago. However, I see it as something more this time. Deep down in my heart, I know that this leg of the journey will present to me something that I do not know what yet. Going off the LOTRs, “I will take the ring, but I do not know the way.” New Zealand will change me and I pray that I can have the strength to grow.
Looking at this adventure, it is more than just a getaway. As my beloved classmate and priest friend told me before I left, this is my retreat. He’s right. Dallas will greet me with the future that awaits. Australia will hug me with the joy of friends. New Zealand will present me to the man I need and want to become. I pray and hope that when I return, I will adhere to all that I will come to experience, learn and grow from this adventure.