I have 3 continents, at least 15 countries and 112 days until I’m home. I’m technically not so far from home to begin with. Sitting in an otherwise empty row of black leather chairs at my gate in Terminal E, the international departure terminal at the Boston Logan Airport, home is really only 20 minutes away.
I’m overjoyed to be traveling for four months, and by myself nonetheless. But still, between the overwhelming fluttering feeling in my stomach and the nonstop buzz of people searching for their flights, I find myself thinking, “What the f*** am I getting myself into?”
As a recent college grad, I can tell you that hearing the question, “What are your plans for after school?” still makes my heart race. When I get home from work, I can barely remember where I put my keys. Sometimes, I have too much chocolate chip ice cream and beer in my fridge to fit actual “adult” food. My clean laundry has a special designated spot on my floor to be thrown, unfolded. And no, I can’t commit to plans next month, let alone plans in six months.
Almost two years ago, instead of aspiring to work at some nine-to-five job once I earned my degree, I decided to start planning an adventure. I had enough credits to graduate from college a year early, which I did this past May. The tuition money I saved, along with my tips from bartending throughout school, was enough to make my travel plans a reality.
This is the start of my four-month journey, beginning in Reykjavik, Iceland and ending in New Zealand. I’ll be bicycling countrysides, hiking to the tops of waterfalls, sleeping in 16-bed hostel dorm rooms, traversing the Alps, meeting strangers and trying my absolute best to pretend I know what I’m doing.
To be honest, traveling and writing is all I really knew I wanted to do after school. Thus, Bridge & A Backpack was born. And yes, I am taking just one backpack along with me for this trip.
For the record, I’m not any kind of expert backpacker. I’ve never backpacked anywhere in my life, although I hear it takes exceptional organizational skills, which I also lack.
Some people have called me “brave” for traveling alone while attempting to backpack for the first time. I don’t agree. I’m just naive enough to hope that somehow I’ll manage to wander about for the next few months without suffering from any major losses or mental breakdowns.
Whether it’s bravery or stupidity, this trip will be an adventure in international cluelessness. And I, the anonymous reader’s unwitting guide, will hopefully be able to fill in the blanks on what it’s really like to just pick up all of your stuff, go to a new country with absolutely no plan and somehow make it all work out in the end.