... AND BROKE! OH MA GAAAAHHH!
No, no, not quite. So far, I've paid for everything related to my trip with my own savings. Plane tickets, shots, program fees... I still have a good chunk of items to purchase before leaving, which will stretch me pretty thin, but it is important to remember the VALUE of things rather than simply the COST.
Sometimes I can have big hang-ups about money. Not overspending, not being wasteful but feeling guilty for spending AT ALL! Even on practical or necessary items. This isn't the case all the time, because instinctively, like the majority of people, I enjoy feeling secure and well taken care of. I am just very money conscious... one the many ways in which I feel I can be overly self-aware.
Although it has been an expensive endeavor to plan, in my heart of hearts I am certain the humbling, rewarding and enlightening experiences that I foresee myself getting from my trip will feel priceless to me when I come home.
It's now 2011 and my departure date is fast approaching! In a lot of ways I can't even believe how fast it's all happening or that it's happening at all. I've recently made some bigger purchases in regards to my equipment: my beautiful Gregory Deva 70 expedition pack, my Keen Targhee II hiking boots, my Birkenstocks amongst other smaller / miscellaneous travel gear like quick-dry microfiber towels, plug adaptors, Lonely Planet guide to Swahili and my favorite, Canadian patches to stitch onto my bag.
As I become more and more surrounded by trip-related items, the more REAL it gets, the more nervous I become and the more I realize what my life will actually be like while I'm away. I've never been homesick but I know I will miss some comforts of home. Hopefully that will all be counteracted by how excited and preoccupied I will be exploring my new surroundings, new friends, new culture and new job.
This seems to be the year of travel for almost everyone. Andrew in Ghana, Andrea Z in Shanghai, Andrea V in Hong Kong, Sepi and Alicia now in Bangladesh and India, Emily in Cambodia, Julie, Madalyn and Bangle in the UK, Tanya in Panama, Richard at the Canadian Embassy in D.C... WOW! I never cease to be amazed at the ambition and aptitude of the people I am surrounded by. You can't help but feed off each others energy.
Since everyone is so spread out, I don't get to see my friends anywhere near as much as I would like too. For some, it's as little as once or twice a year. Despite this, I am always impressed by how effortlessly we always manage to fall back into sync with one another as though no time has passed. Thats what true friendship is, I suppose, and I feel so privileged to share that with such beautiful people.
Today was a perfect example of that. I went out to brunch at Cora's with Ceecee and Alex. Ceecee just came home from Singapore and China while Alex is preparing for her exchange to Panama! They are so supportive and encouraging! Hearing that they believe in me and have so much positive hope for me is so motivating. Knowing how much Ceecee wants me to find my stride again in life and how "fearless" Alex sees me truly is touching. Knowing, and not just believing, that people care and love you makes an incredible difference. Since I don't get that type of support often, I need to be my own advocate. Although I always make my decisions carefully and take a raw, objectively look at my emotions, in that solitude, doubts can really affect your confidence. I know I am a strong, independent person. Having my friends be my personal cheering section is just a cherry on top.
I'm glad to have written a new entry!
Only a few more weeks until I get to use my shiny, new passport!