It’s On!

So on Tuesday this past week I bought my plane ticket to Spain.  It’s official, I am leaving out of JFK International Airport on Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 7:45 PM.  I’ll land in Spain the following morning and spend the next 27 days living in Madrid knowing no one there but myself.  I have a list of places I would like to see and some things I would like to do, but for the most part, I am simply going to wing it day to day.  If this sounds like a daring thing for someone to do, multiply that by a thousand and you’ll begin to understand what it means for someone like me to do something like this.

I am 33 years old and have never left the country.  Sure, there are a lot of folks who have never left the country but that doesn’t stop them from taking risks and living interesting lives.  I have only flown once, and it was only about three hours each way.  I will be flying over the Atlantic Ocean and once in Madrid I will be about six or seven hours by car from Africa.  Washington D.C. is farther away from me right now.  While I hope this is not the only adventure I embark on for the rest of my life, I certainly hope it is the most exciting.  I imagine I will have quite a different perspective on the world when I return and I hope it opens the door for me to take on more challenges in my life.

First and foremost, I see this as an opportunity to overcome many of my self imposed fears in life.  In truth, there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of and I am going to assure myself of that by getting there and back without any troubles.  (OK, I may get delayed at the airport or I may fumble for my words at times, but nothing is going to stop me from having a great time.)  Second, I want this to be the push I need to use Spanish as often as I can.  Spending a month using only Spanish should solidify it in my brain once and for all.  Don’t be mistaken.  So many people think the only way to truly learn a second language is to spend time in the country and I want to be sure I am clear that this alone is not why I am taking this trip.  Simply going to Spain will not make me fluent in the language, I know this.  My goal is not to learn Spanish, it never was.  My goal is to not speak English, which is what is going to push me towards fluency.  I could try to do that here in the United States, but people might look at me funny.  Going to Spain will be an experience of a lifetime.  Coming home fluent in the language will be a bonus.  Surviving without using English for a month will make me proud.

Maybe I won’t be able to converse over the subtleties of Spanish politics or even go into great detail about their culture, but I will be able to come home and hold down a conversation with another Spanish speaker without feeling silly or shy about talking.  I’ll spend a month making friends with people and learning what it is like to live away from the United States.  So many people have told me I will not want to come home or that I will want to move there permanently.  I have certainly given it some thought, but that will come after the trip.  I need to make it through May of 2015 first, then I will decide where I want to go from there.

Now comes the waiting.  I can honestly say I have no fear or apprehension about this trip, even when I hear about the pickpockets or other petty criminals who target tourists.  My hope is to not appear too much like a tourist as I will be living in an apartment and spending my time in the more rural areas, however I suppose this does open me up to the possibility of coming across more unsavory folk than I would like.  I am not bringing much of value with me and as long as I can keep my cash and credit card safely tucked away where no one can get at it, I should be fine.  Even in the worst case scenario, I’ll have the numbers I would need to call in case I needed to cancel my card if it were stolen.  I don’t plan on walking alone at night or spending a lot of time in shady neighborhoods, so I imagine I just need to be as careful as I would be here at home.  In any case, none of this is deterring me and now that the plane ticket is purchased, I am eager to fly out.  I can’t believe I have to suffer through another New England winter before taking this trip.  I suppose between now and then I’ll have to do my best to set aside my spending cash for the trip and get my other finances in order so I don’t come home to an empty bank account.

I did a lot of this on my own, and for that I am proud, but I have to say without the support of so many people, I doubt I ever would have gotten even this far.  No one offered me money or anything of physical value to help me along, but the positive feedback I received from my friends and family was really all I needed to get this done.  I was so humbled by the number of people who read my Facebook post when I first announced this trip, and to read their positive comments just made me feel like anything was possible.  No one told me I was crazy or that this was an outlandish idea.  Everyone was so excited I would even try something like this and they all assured me I would love every second of it.  For that I am forever grateful and for that I will take advantage of every opportunity I can while in Spain.  I still have 265 days to get ready but it gives me something to look forward to each and every day.  Things are definitely looking up.


~ by James on August 8, 2014.

2 Responses to “It’s On!”

  1. You are going to have an incredible trip; and you’re absolutely right, it’s going to change your life. I am so incredibly proud of anyone that faces their fears and takes a step out of their comfort zone. It’s the only way to really and truly grow, and it is quite possibly one of the most rewarding things that you can do.

    Best of luck!

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