Hindsight is 20/20

Now that my few months of world traveling are over (for the moment), and I’m back and settled into a routine, I’m able to look at all my experiences with more appreciation.

My memories aren’t colored by the embarrassment that was there for the first few weeks, where I actually blushed with shame every time I had to tell someone new that I came home earlier than planned. The stress of being IN the situation is gone too, and I’m not worried about nailing that meeting tomorrow or getting in touch with a hard-to-reach secretary. Finally, I can take a first look at so many things I got to do, and realize just how lucky I was, and how much I actually needed to do that. **Let’s be honest, I’m 22 and have, on the life experience scale, basically a zero. I did say first look!

If now I were to hop on a plane and land in a country where I didn’t know a single person, that doesn’t make me nervous. I know how to handle it, and I’ve done just that a few times. The morning I landed in Belgium, I was petrified and trembling and numb. I’m actually surprised I didn’t break down in tears. It was the first time in my life I had felt completely isolated from every person I knew, and had to maneuver through customs and filing a claim for lost luggage and finding a phone to use to let the company know I had arrived. I remember waiting for Herman to pick me up, standing outside the airport, and fighting not to vomit or run. Run where, I don’t know. I felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I was so, so wrong.

I will never forget, about a week before I left to come home, spending a day visiting with potential clients in Manila. I was by myself for the entire day, haggling with taxi-drivers and making phone calls in-between meetings; answering work emails while I ate lunch at a restaurant alone. I was running to Starbucks (hello globalization) and it struck me that I would not have wanted to do this four months ago. I had a new confidence that did not get on the plane with me in Atlanta, but that I had found, in bits and pieces, through Belgium, Malaysia, and the Philippines. I left a week later, but I took that confidence with me.

The timing of my realization and departure make me think that that was exactly what I needed to gain from the whole experience, and I certainly fought for it! No sooner than I seized my inner independence and let go of my need to plan my life, I was thrown back into America, where both of these new-found attributions were put to the test! It took me traveling half-way around the world, but I found my confidence–some in a small office in Lommel, Belgium, pieces on the streets of Manila, and a large chunk in Kuala Lumpur–and I do NOT plan on losing it again.

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2 thoughts on “Hindsight is 20/20”

  1. awesome, simply awesome. Finding who you are and creating who you want to be, now that is taking advantage of all that life has to offer. You have the bull by the horns, don’t let go! Remember the ostrich egg, it is all about facing your fears, and putting them behind you

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