The familiar smell of Auntie Anne’s cinnamon sugar pretzels fills my nose, my backpack straps rub against my shoulders, and the monotone voice of a last boarding call registers through the speakers overhead. Unless my senses deceive me, I’m back at O’hare International Airport, biding my time before I board another international flight. This time it’s United Flight 938 bound for London Heathrow, and an overnight trip over the Atlantic is in my near future.
My eight days at home flew by about as fast as the cruising speed of a jumbo jet, but it was a really great week back in Chicago. I got to reunite with family, see friends from high school (and even a friend from the Dominican Republic who was in town), enjoy home cooked meals, celebrate my mom’s birthday, visit some parts of the city I rarely get to, run the Chi-Town 10K, and relax in the comforts of home. There’s something so tranquil about being back. Even just a week after returning it feels as though I never left, and I easily fell back into my routine which I am so accustomed to. Being surrounded by people who love me more than anyone in the world is a nice added bonus, and certainly contributes to the ease of home life.
Unfortunately, I can’t relish in that state forever. Fortunately, instead of the usual snap back to reality that work or school provides, I get to spend a month and a half in Europe. That being said, it’s never easy to pack up and go. Traveling, especially alone, creates so many unknowns. There are countless ways the next 45 days could go, and there are many unanswered questions floating around my head. As a human, change and instability are not my most natural, comfortable states. The good news is my excitement far outweighs any minor nervousness I might have about my journey. I am 100% confident that no matter what happens, I will have an extraordinary time, and I will grow as a person because of it. I may not absolutely love the unknown, but my lust to find out what’s ahead drives me forward.
And so, with my trusty green backpack, I board the plane, ready for another adventure of a lifetime.