2003-07-11

Yesterday was when it started to hit.

Six weeks until I leave, and there’s so much more to do. I haven’t even begun shopping for my trip, let alone prepare myself mentally. I have not been given a very good job outline, so I’m not sure what my responsibilities will be.

The ideas for my big trips always start with the movie The Beach. It wasn’t given enough credit in Hollywood, but for me, it is the most influential movie of my life. It inspires me to get out there and do something.

Last February, I watched it and realized how comfortable I was living in Canada. Same food, same clothes, same music… I was tired of it.

I make sure that I’m never completely comfortable in my life so that I can keep moving from one place to another. Maybe someday I’ll stop, but I’m not ready yet.

I watched the movie and realized that even though I have travelled in the past, I have never been anywhere that doesn’t remind me of home.

I wanted something new and different. From the get-go, I wanted to go to Africa. I’m not sure why… it was like a calling.

Something different, something uncomfortable- that’s what my dream was.

And when I got my choices after being accepted into the NetCorps program, my first instinct was to go to Africa. Then my number one choice was the Caribbean (because six months in the Caribbean was a hard opportunity to pass up). Then my mind changed again, and I thought I’d go to Guyana- the best of both worlds- similar to Caribbean culture, but still different from Canada.

I even went so far as to tell my Program Officer that my number once choice was Guyana.

Then a friend of mine said, “Do you remember that girl at the Heathrow airport? The one that was so scared of everything that she almost turned around and came right back home?” I had almost forgotten about her. That girl was me.

He reminded me that I wasn’t that girl anymore, and he asked, “Is that girl back?” It hit me like a ton of bricks. My god, she was. Going to Guyana, I thought, was taking the easy way out.

A couple of hours after telling my Program Officer that I wanted to go to Guyana, I wrote her an email telling her I’d changed my mind- I wanted to go to The Gambia.

I haven’t looked back since. I will not compromise my dreams- especially not for fear.

I have several mottos I’ve made up that I live my life by, and one of them is, “The worst reason to not do something is because you’re scared.

The Gambia it was.

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