Shockingly, it has been one year since I left on April 2nd, 2011, destination: Morocco.
Holy cow! Looking back on that first flight, that first country, the start of this incredible journey, and I can still taste the nerves I felt. The week leading up to leaving was a roller coaster emotionally. I had almost continual palpations and breakdowns and it was one of the most difficult weeks I have ever encountered in my life. I knew that the trip was the right decision for me and I was 90% certain that once I left, my nerves would calm considerably. But, I fully admit, that putting my feet on that first plane was tough. Really tough. Because, who leaves behind a perfectly good life? I did. I’m still not sure of my reasons behind my decision to go sometimes, but I am certainly glad I did and I would do all again (if I could…I might start a Clarissa Traveling Fund…wanna contribute??).Now that I’ve been home for nearly 4 months the trip seems eons away, another lifetime really. I think also, since I returned to my previous living situation and job it feels like I never left in a way, I merely slipped the old shoes back on, leaving my travel weary flip-flops at the door (which are currently glaring at my reproachfully).
Questions I often get:
1. Have I changed? People ask me this and I wonder this about myself. Honestly, I’m not sure. My tolerance for reality TV is almost zero, not that I ever watched reality TV a lot, but still, now I can barely handle 5 minutes of it. My tolerance for petty nonsense is also at an all time low, see previous statement. Can’t people see how lucky we are to be living in America? With our clean water, safe streets, and educations? Things that other people in other parts of the world would literally die for or spend their entire lifetime hoping for. What I am is humble and grateful to be an educated, American woman. I am more laid back. I have never been overly high strung, but even my mild Type A tendencies learned to chill.
2. What did I learn about myself? I am slightly more Type A than I thought I was. I like to be with people and too many days alone is not very good for me. My ability to make new friends and introduce myself to people and new situations has improved!
3. Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not! The highs, the lows, and everything in between was an incredible journey and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. If I could do it all over again I would. Now, should I be fortunate enough to do another trip like this again, yes, there are things I would change. One, I wouldn’t move around so much. Not only is constantly traveling exhausting, but more over, expensive. I would probably focus my trip more on volunteering next time than just traveling. Second, I would not do a round-the-world ticket. I loved the company that I used, Airtreks. They are a great company for all your travel needs, but the RTW ticket in the end was frustrating, because of course, I wanted to change things around by that point and it cost me.
4. What’s my favorite place? Insert groan. This is my least favorite question, why? Because I loved everywhere I went for equally as important but for equally different reasons. Maybe I met some interesting people or saw something amazing or I learned a really good lesson about myself, every place I walked across is memorable in its own unique way.
5. What’s my next trip? Well, I’ve got a couple of things I’m thinking about, but they are a ways off. I’m still recovering from the last one! What I can tell you, is that traveling is and will always be an important theme in my life.
Here is a random selection of pictures from my journey: