Pre-departure

I was planning on journaling all summer to help me process the fact that I will not be home for a whole year. I think I actually journaled four or five times. I was planning on writing this pre-departure post weeks ago, not an hour before I board my flight to Quito…procrastination at its finest. Procrastinating is easy, allows me to avoid the serious mental energy that is required to process how I feel about saying goodbye to the familiar.

As I have prepared for this journey, I have received lots of advice from friends, mentors, and previous Watson fellows. Many repeat the same: Immerse yourself. This is often followed by more of the same: Limit your social media use and your contact with friends and family. I found myself struggling with this advice as the anxiety about my trip worsened. Since when did immersing in the new necessitate isolation from the old?

Two days after I learned of my receipt of the Watson Fellowship, I found myself in a small boutique in Asheville, searching through a pile of small cards. I was skimming the quotes on several, skipping the words on most, when my hands stopped on this card.

I felt as though this card was speaking directly to me. How did it know that I had just learned I was about to undertake the biggest change of my life? Now, when I look at this card, it too shares the insight of my mentors.

In the wake of my departure, I am still trying to figure out exactly how I will be contacting home. Despite the divine intervention that placed that card in my hand at such an appropriate moment, I realize I still have not accepted its words. I am clinging to some sort of immortality, perhaps, as I still seek to understand how I might try to stay alive in two worlds. Deep down I know these efforts are most likely futile. It may be that I just need to start accepting the end of the life I knew, coming to view death as inevitable, just as we all will have to do.

My procrastination has caught up with me it seems. This post will have to be a short one as it is truly time to go. I can’t wait to see what Quito has in store for me and how I come to enter into this new life.

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