FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAYS
At 21 years old, I definitely don’t consider myself an “adult.”
In fact, this trip to Italy is probably one of the most “adult” things I’ve ever done. I bought the plane tickets by myself, got my passport by myself, traveled across the country by myself, and even stayed a night in a city that speaks another language by all myself.
To say I was pumped was an understatement. I was inspired, absolutely invigorated with the excitement of a new environment, a new culture, and a new language. I was going solo, taking on the world, and proving to everyone just how capable I am. I promised myself that I would make the most of this and REALLY experience Italy.
But slowly, after some 18 odd hours of flights, layovers, and transfers, after checking into my hostel, and after the time came to actually venture into the city, apprehension and mild panic may have begun to creep its way in.
I was in a different environment. And a different culture. With a different language. Alone. Flashbacks of any time I watched the news about women traveling alone that ended with death, injury, or theft flooded into my head. Top it all off with the fact that there was an official Travel Alert on Europe by the U.S. Department of State, and I was done.
But I was in Italy. I made it on my own, and I was determined to explore the city stag! Despite the spike of fear and uncertainty that shocked me, every step I took from my second floor room to the hostel front doors turned the panicked fear into excited fear, and excited fear into excitement. I know that I am a smart, confident, and friendly young woman. I was not, am not, and will not be a person you hear about in the news. “Taken. Tricked. Victim.” I think on alert, I find solutions, and I know that nothing is unconquerable in my life…even with language barriers.
Honestly, these flashes of thoughts and feelings passed through my mind within seconds, before I was out on my way, exploring the city. Regardless of how short a time it was that I reflected, it was an eye opening moment for me that helped shape the rest of my trip as well as how I view my independence. In the future, my wide-eyed appetite for adventure will take me to places I have never imagined before. At the same time, my instinctive caution will calm me to fully think through, understand, and appreciate each and every action I am able to take.
Italy was the perfect test run of my journey around the world. Go me!