It may seem like I make grand decisions, but in reality, I’m a total toe dipper. I know that most of the time, it’s a lot less painful to just jump right in and get the shock over and done with, but my nervous system struggles with such a jolt, even though my mind seems to crave it. When I started to map out where I would start my great adventure, I certainly went for the shock. I thought to start in India.
I know, I know, most of you are thinking, “Seriously?” But let me plead my case. I’m actually half Punjabi and have been to India three times already. It’s familiar enough to me, culturally and linguistically, and the dollar can go a very long way. Plus, I would have hundreds of family members to call upon if I needed to. So that was that, India it was! Oh, did I mention that I was also planning to camp everywhere?
But as the weeks ticked on, and then turned into months, something wasn’t sitting well with me. I was rightfully anxious because a massive transition was on it’s way, but something just didn’t feel right. There’s a difference between the kind of nerves that are deliciously torturous, preparing you for what you’re about to embark upon, and the kind of nerves that tell you to halt in your tracks. For me, it was the latter that was being triggered. I started to wonder if doing ‘this thing’ was actually a terrible idea. It took me another few weeks of emotional excavation before I realized that the idea of starting in India felt just too grand for me.
So then I asked myself where would be the most comfortable place in the world for a female solo traveler from America to go. Without much surprise, Europe popped up immediately. So although I wanted a big jolt to knock me out of the malaise I had been in for the last who knows how many years, I chose instead to ease myself into this new way of life.
England replaced India, even though it actually contained some of the same comforts. True to Indian form, I have relatives on nearly every continent in all corners of the world, England included. So I would start my journey in England, where I can speak the language, the food is familiar, and my family can keep me company until I get used to being alone.
This was my first lesson in the necessity of flexibility; with my needs and with my plans.