Diary of a Wimpy Girl: Two Weeks Until Departure

With only one week left until my last day of work and two weeks until Ben and I officially leave for our trip, I must confess that I am really freaking out right now. I’m scheduling times to meet with friends in Boston and NYC, (because who knows when I’ll see them again) figuring out the logistics for my farewell BBQ with my family, and for my job, I am documenting everything I have done in the past two years into one document.

But those things are not what’s freaking me out.

It’s the fact that I am closing this chapter in my life, and I have to say bye to my friends, family, and job. Not to mention, that my damn emotions are going haywire. I am super excited to embark on this journey but I am scared, nervous and anxious all at the same damn time. Could I have cold feet?

I know you’re probably thinking, why the hell is she so scared, nervous and anxious? I thought she wanted to travel?

I do, but let me explain!!!

There are definitely things I don’t like about the “traditional” life I live and those things are driving me to pursue my dreams of travel, but my family, friends and job are not one of them.

Having to say goodbye to people I have developed great relationships with, not seeing my family and friends for a long period of time or leaving the kids I work with behind is not something I am ready to do. Saying bye to people is just not my thing, never has been and never will be.

Family First

My family and I are a really tight knit. They are crazy, loud, and joke around a lot (they are also loving and supportive of course) and that’s why I love them. There are times where we just hang out in the kitchen while my mommy is cooking, and just act a fool, play music and reminisce about the past. This would last until the early hours of the next morning.

How could I possibly say bye to that?

They mean the world to me and missing them is something that’s inevitable, but knowing that I can’t visit them every time I miss them is driving me crazy. I don’t know if I can be away from them for that long. When I left them for the first time to go to college in another state, I realized I developed a small yet noticeable separation anxiety. Just like before, I am going to be miss them like crazy.

I am going to miss the screaming, the jokes, the silliness and of course the kitchen gathering. I will miss out on my nine year old sister growing up, I won’t be able to help my other sister with her college applications. And due to the fact that my travel has no end date, I won’t be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I have yet to miss one.

It almost seems as though I have to put my family on the “back burner” while I’m traveling. If that is the case, it’s going to be really difficult, especially because they have always been in the forefront.

How did I deal with these feelings when I left for college? I mean how am I doing it now, I live in Boston now while they are in NYC. How did I leave them before?

Friendships Last a Lifetime

When I befriend someone, it’s a friendship that I plan to last forever. My good friends soon become family, my brothers, and sisters. I love them dearly, and would do anything to help them in any way I can. My longest and still going strong friendship is 16 years old.

St. Patrick's Day Parade in New Orleans
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Orleans

While I am traveling, I fear that my friendships won’t be the same as they would if I was still home or at least nearby. What if those friendships cease to exist? I fear that my friends will be just memories or even worst, figments of my imagination.

My Job is my Hobby

I know most people that travel, travel because they are tired of their 9-5 job, can’t stand being in a cubicle or doing something that is plain old boring, but not me. I absolutely love my job, what I do, and the people I serve. The funny thing is I consider my job to be a hobby. Why? Because I am doing something I love and I’m passionate about (plus the word job just has a negative connotation to it). If you know me, you know that I love helping others, especially the youth and that’s exactly what I am doing.

My AmeriCorps*VISTA position, allows me to not only expose college student to the idea of volunteering and doing community service but also providing them with the opportunity to actually volunteer through Service Learning. This position has also blessed me with the opportunity to work directly with the youth at a Boys and Girls Clubs.

My Co-Workers and I
My co workers and I

Not only do I have a hobby as a job, I have awesome supervisors and foolish, crazy, funny, and passionate co-workers. But what I love most are the kids, my kids as I like to call them. It’s going to hurt my heart so much to say bye on my last day. They are not too happy about me leaving either. One of them asked me why couldn’t I extend my job for just one more year, while another teen even refuse to talk to me.

How can I leave the youth that I look forward to seeing every day, the teens that make my job a mystery, the same kids that can make a bad day a good day? How can I possibly say bye to those sweet yet sometime “sour” teenagers?

Am I really walking away from my family, friends, and kids? Could I really leave the life that I invested so much time in creating?

The answer is NO.

Wait, does that mean you aren’t traveling anymore?

No, it just means that I have to find a way to not leave them behind and still travel.

Just because I am traveling doesn’t mean I have to cut ties with this ending chapter. It’s not the end but a beginning.

What’s really helping me tame these up and down emotions and questions right now, is the past. I realized literally today, at this moment, while I am writing this post that I have gone through this before, maybe not to the same extent, but I did.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane

Once upon a time, I was an 18 year old teenager about to attend college in a faraway land called Boston. At the time, I was freaking out because of several reasons; I knew and only loved NYC, I thought my high school basketball teammates, who I consider to be my family would fall apart because we were all growing up and going to college all around the USA. Also, because I was moving millions of miles (this is how I saw the distance back then, so bare with me) away from family to a faraway land where I knew no one.

Fast Forward to my graduation

I did it. I survived my fears, my worries and accomplished the things I thought I wouldn’t. I made not only new friends but more friends. They helped ease the process, and along the way, they became lifelong friends. Now, seven years after my high school graduation I am still close to my H.S. basketball family even though I don’t speak or see them every day. In fact, this upcoming weekend, I will be going to a get together with them.

When it came to my family, I didn’t see them all the time especially when I was playing basketball, I barely had free time. Yes, I did miss them, but guess what? They didn’t stop loving me, I wasn’t alienated, or felt out of the loop because I didn’t know what was going on with everyone, if anything they filled me in throughout the year. My four year old sister at the time, grew up and I got pictures and videos sent to me. It was as if I didn’t miss a thing. My other sisters called me for advice constantly throughout my four years. I practically got phone calls from my family every day.

In this day and age with technology constantly evolving, it’s easier to stay in contact with everyone, we can text, call, Skype or blog. Before, we would have had to settle for a postcard, and a letter once in the blue moon.

Back to the Present

It wasn’t a goodbye then and it’s not going to be one now. It’s a “see you guys later”, it’s an opportunity to show my mommy, aunty, and sisters that there’s more to life than just paying bills as well as there is a world beyond NY and Haiti. It’s the chance to do something new, something I always wanted to do.

All I have to do is trust in the love that is the foundations of my friendships and the reason why my family and I are so close. Love does not stop because of distance, if anything it makes the heart grow fonder, and because of that I will appreciated and love my family and friends even more when I get back home to visit.

I also believe that the love they have for me will help them to be supportive and understanding of my choice to travel instead of living the “typical” life.

But I mean is this past stuff really helping you get through this?!?

Yes actually, more than I could imagine. Why? Because I know now (more like remember now) that it’s been done before, not by someone else but by me. I did it before and I can do it again.

I not going to say that when the day comes, all my fears will disappear (now that is not realistic). If anything that shit might get worst, I might even have a panic attack. Better yet, I can guarantee that I am going to cry like a little baby.

But that’s okay though!

I am now accepting that these feelings are normal, (at least they are in my head) they are justified, and they are exactly what I need to realize that it’s time to start my next chapter.

“Fear is good. Fear tells us what we have to do. The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.” -Steven Pressfield

Yes, I am afraid of this next big chapter in my life but it just means that this is something that I absolutely must do and have to do. I understand that saying “see you later” to my friends, family and kids is not the end of the world, but rather the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Am I a wimp for feeling this way or is this normal? Where you ever in a similar situations?

The Author

Jazzy is a professional travel blogger and the chief editor of Road Affair. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Ben, since 2012.

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Comments

  1. Very interesting insight, I liked to read about your dilemmas very much. My parents went through the same thing, but still found a way to drag us along on the road – I’m so glad that has rubbed off.

  2. You’re not a wimp, this is totally normal pre – leap of faith. Trust me once you jump, the feeling is great on the other side.

  3. I love how you can be so honest about how you’re feeling. It’s a brave and commendable thing really. And it does not make you a wimp, you’re blessed enough to realize that you have precious relationships in your present life. You appreciate them and you want to see what else life has to offer. Of course you can do it and I think it will be a wonderful experience. We should not fear change because it brings with it the most opportunities.
    Good luck to you!
    Cheers,
    Natasha

    1. Thanks so much Natasha. It is a blessing to have those amazing relationships but I also know that I have to trust that my relationship will stay intact while I am traveling and seeing what the world has to offer. And I am starting to believe it now. Thanks again for the words of advice.

  4. What a lovely post, your fears and doubts are normal and I’m sure your friends and family are very proud of you by taking this chance :) !

    1. My friends and family are really nervous about me hitchhiking. They are happy that I am traveling,just not happy about the way I am doing it, but how could they? With the way the media portrays hitchhiking, of course they wouldn’t have any positive images of hitchhiking. But
      I know they are going to let me do it because they love me and want to see me happy.

      Fear is a part of change, in order to accept change we must face our fears.

  5. Of course you’re not a wimp! Taking big steps is always worrying, but I think you’ve worked it yourself, haven’t you? Your friends will still be your friends, your family will follow your journey and look forward to hearing from you and you will know that you are adding more richness to your life all the way through. What a thoughtful post. Good luck!!

  6. No wimpy-ness from what I read here. It takes a load of courage to cut those ropes from the mooring and sail to new destinations. The fear is normal and natural – it’ll pass, I promise! Can’t wait to read about the forthcoming adventures.

    1. Thanks Dave!!! I have high hopes that it will pass especially when I am meeting new people, exploring different cultures, and places. :)

    1. Mindi, I really do hope I can be an inspiration for them. I hope to show them that they should follow their dreams regardless if it doesn’t fall under the social norm!!

  7. You are quite brave. It takes guts to do what is not the norm (which is working a job, here in USA).

    Best wishes to you on all your explorations. Your memories will be priceless.

  8. I went through similar feelings when I moved to Ireland after Uni- I went solo and had never even been on a plane before. It was scary at first but ended up being the best time of my life. It was hard because I am also super close to my family but my mom and I e-mailed back and forth like we were texting, and skype was the perfect way to stay in touch with friends. It’s scary now but don’t worry- it all works out!

    1. Thanks for sharing Hannah, it is great knowing that someone else that is really close to their family can still travel and be okay in the end. Thank you again, I am looking forward to getting to that point.

  9. It is very interesting to read your thoughts and i’m sure it will make others feel better about having doubts or bad days but as you said, you’re not abandonning your family and friends, you’re just gonna learn a new way of interacting with them (skype and whatsapp will become your new best friends). Distance can be good too as it will give importance to the little things we overlook when we’re up close. And as many people already commented, what’s ahead of you is just plain awesome. There is NOTHING like it, your whole life will take a new colur and flavour, you’re gonna learn so much you’re bound to enjoy it.

    1. Thank you Jameela, I love learning and I am excited to learn what the road has to offer. “Finding a new way to interact with them” I like that. Promise to keep that in mind.

      Thank you for the words of encouragement.

  10. Better be “a wimp” and follow your dreams than play it safe and be unhappy! Of course it’s a bit scary, when I moved countries I was really afraid of loosing contact with friends or family, but with Skype, Facebook, … you’re never far away! Enjoy your new life!

    1. Thank goodness for technology, they are going to make my traveling, missing my family and friends a whole lot easier. Happiness, and following my dreams are what I strive for.

      Thanks Els ;)

  11. Leaving your family and friends behind is hard. I know my family is spread all over (NJ,Spain, Chicago, Cuba), and I’m here alone in Florida with my family. I miss out on a lot of family gatherings and holidays with them. In todays world of electronics it makes it a lot easier for us to stay in touch. I use Skype all the time to chat with my family. I know it’s not the same thing as actually being with them but it does make you feel like you’re still home with them. Good luck with your travels.

    1. You hit it right on the nail, it’s not the same but it’s something. I’m starting to understand that settling for skype, whatsapp, etc. is a compromise. I get to follow my dreams while still continuing my relationship with friends and family. I don’t have to choose between the two.

  12. What a great post – so honest. I’ll echo what others have said – you’re incredibly brave to take this leap and the anxiety is completely normal. I’d worry about the people who don’t get anxious! You’ll have a fabulous time and make memories that’ll shape your life forever. So worth it!

    1. Someone told me the exact same thing, “if you weren’t sad, scared, or anxious about it that means you didn’t really care” and I agreed. I feel this way because I care about both traveling and my family and friends.

      So thank you Amy, for reiterating that for me.

  13. It’s a big step, and it’s not easy, but it’s YOUR step, so don’t forget you are in control! If it doesn’t work out you can always change course. But I reckon distance doesn’t matter when it comes to family and friends, they’ll always be there, and absence sure does make the heart grow fonder. Go for it!!

    1. Very true Heather, I will never know until I try, and if I don’t like it, I can always go back or do something different.

      Thanks for the advice :)

  14. I think it’s normal to feel this way. Personally, it was an easy decision for me to leave the US and live/travel abroad. I wasn’t as attached to my life in the US. I was also fresh out of college and ready to do something new :) Good luck to you!

  15. To me this all sounds totally normal and I don’t think your a wimp at all! You’re taking a big step and while it’s exciting starting a new chapter of your life, it can be hard to close another chapter that your not quite ready too or even willing to. The people and experiences you have at home will always be there, so I say embrace the change and have a blast!

    1. It is very difficult to close this chapter of my life, damn near feels impossible. But, I know I can do it because I’ve done it before,and based on all these comments others have too.

      Thanks for the advice Jen, it is greatly appreciated.

  16. As others have said, the anxiety is completely normal. It will soon go once you are on the road I promise! You will find that staying in touch now is easier than it has ever been.

    1. I hope it does get easier Michael, otherwise I would have to come back because I will miss them so much. But, the road seems promising!!!!

  17. When I first went travelling I was fearful, fear of the unknown guess? I went alone too which was intimidating. Upon my return and whilst travelling my friends and family saw positive changes and it opened my mind which, whether you continue to travel or return to your job is a great feeling. Happy travels! enjoy meeting new people and the new experiences ahead.

    1. Thanks for sharing!!! Fear has this way of being your best friend and worst enemy at the same time, hopefully during this trip it’s a friend.

      P.s. I can’t wait to meet new people and gain new experiences

  18. I “had” to face kind of a similar experience years ago with leaving family, friends and my job as a teacher but in the end it was the best decision I ever made.
    And: no. You´re not a wimp. :D

  19. However many times you’ve done it you always feel apprehensive before you make a big change in your life. But once you’ve made the plunge you know you’ve done the right thing!

    1. Very true Karen !!! I wasn’t sure about getting a job in Boston and now I know it was one of my the best decisions I ever made. Now, I am so sad about leaving the job I once questioned about taking. Case and point !!!

  20. Don’t worry too much about your trip.
    2 weeks before we left the UK for our big trip I was just so scared. I had no idea what would happen . Would I hate it suddenly? Would it be fine? Actually those were stupid question due to stress!

    I’m sure you gonna have a great time and even while travelling you never loose your friends back home!

  21. Its ok to have a mixed bag of feelings before travelling. I am sure you will have lots of fun too along the way with plenty of stories to share with your friends and family when you return.

  22. I think this is totally normal to feel – I always feel like this before a big trip. It’s hard to leave behind the people and places you love, even if it is for an exciting new opportunity. That’s one thing about living abroad I don’t think has gotten any easier, even after a couple years!

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