Around the same time last year, as an advance birthday present, I was gifted with a one-way ticket for a 14 hours 20 minutes flight to another continent. I did want to get on that plane, but I stopped to listen to what people around me had to say. Fear of the unknown kicked in and I eventually decided to stay cozy in my comfort zone. To truly confess, the “What-if” scenario of things scared me. I felt paralyzed by the fear of failure.
A year later, I hold regrets – but for a different reason. “What-if” I had taken the chance and made the trip? At the worst, I would’ve got stuck – but what if things went better than a carefully planned trip?
Five months later, in April this year – I had a 2nd such opportunity for an impromptu visit. Yet again, the fear of failure kicked in and I decided not to act spontaneously on my instincts.
In the next three months, something inside of me fundamentally changed. Irreversibly.
In August this year, with literally less than 15 hours in hand – I prepped up for a 16 hours 30 minutes flight for a 10 day holiday. Till 1 hour before the flight, I was dubious if I was actually getting on the plane since mine was a last-minute booking. The sense of adventure and excitement took over my fears by a big leap and I had the most magical and beautiful days one could dream of. I visited my dream school to study, flew to 3 cities, got lost in an unknown city post dark, caught the last train homebound, made friends with strangers, walked close to 15 miles in a day, hiked some scenic trails, did my first big bus tour, took a walking tour to a place of history and culture with a group of strangers, tried all means of public transport, travelled for 5 hours to drop off a surprise gift, walked across the most beautiful bridge on the perfect sunny day, drove around the loveliest beach and bridge with my school best friend – taking tons of pictures, roasted marshmallows on our campfire by the sea at night and walked barefoot under the moonlight with the sound of the crashing waves giving me company.
That’s when it struck me, the unknown need not be viewed with fear. Rather, it should be relished. The possibilities are endless.
This time around, I took my adventure to the next level – setting my feet in 4 countries, across 2 continents in a span of 15 days; visiting 8 cities! Right from witnessing the season’s first snowfall, evening walk holding the warmest hands, an afternoon run in the sweltering sun, traveling coast to coast to the beautiful mangroves and watching the wildlife while it was drizzling softly, from being sleep-deprived to afternoon naps, picnicking at a cozy park bench overlooking the roses, to trying sushi for the first time in my life, from seeing and holding snow for the first time in my life, to morning walk by the lakefront, packing for an 8 hour flight across 3 time zones in half an hour, chit-chatting till 12 in the night with tons of yawns in between, from tears of loss, to laughter on jokes, intense conversations over a short drive, food for thought over a 16 hour flight, waiting at the airport with a risk of being stranded all night just for the excitement of the few extra hours at the destination! From meeting family and friends, to living my dream and spending time with the most lovable company…. From airport pickups at every destination with thoughtful care, I was presented with the gift of time and effort. From dozing off on the planes, to writing letters and little notes. From giving surprizes to my family to being so deeply touched by simple gestures that it made me want to cry. From boat rides, to long drives to snowy walks early morning with frostbitten fingers. From enjoying the tastiest homegrown avocado toast, pomegranates and persimmons to witnessing the quickest eater I’ve ever known who’d finish an entire meal even before I’ve had 40% of mine 😛 It was incredible….
I couldn’t take a lot of pictures, go for shopping sprees or buy souvenirs for myself, but I did gift thoughtful presents to the people I visited. The memories I carry in my heart will keep me warm, all winter 🙂
It was crazy and exhausting, but it was so much fun! ❤
I’ve learned to not just embrace, but relish this sense of the unknown. Excitement and joy takes you places. YOLO – SOLO.
22 days, 5 countries, 3 continents, 9 cities and 12 flights – one missed flight with a possibility of being stranded at the airport overnight if I hadn’t got the next one – one epic adventure!
The first trip was a surprise visit to my family and the last trip was a weekend trip to an island with crystal clear waters and the most scenic views I have ever witnessed! 🙂
“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen.
There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.”