I have been preparing for this journey for a very long time. From the beginnings of the proposal to the negotiations of the logistics of the trip itself, I feel like I have known this is what I need to do with this part of my life. Teaching in some form has always been an essential piece of who I am and what I have become. For the first time, I will not be just learning from the daily tasks of teaching, but from the culture itself. In preparation for the trip, many items have been donated my way from friends, family, and significant other.
To begin, the rucksack I carry has the good juju of a good friend- Michelle. Michelle has become a dear friend because of our mutual interests and mutual life paths. It is with her good energy and spirit that I will move forward. As we joked- “always carrying her on my back.”
Then there’s the USB that will hold all the memories of the trip given to me by Kiah. This vital device was suggested to me by Kiah and then immediately given to me by her as a contribution. It will hold all the documents that will get me there and back along with the storage of pictures.
Another important piece of my life for the next three months is the camera given to me by my father. Formerly a part of my Japan experience, my point-and-shoot camera will capture the images relaying the experience to others. Despite the attempted certainty of what these memories might look like, I know that they will only be revealed in time.
Lastly, my sweet boyfriend and I have been driving all over Nashville today looking for friends to say goodbye to and a piece of jewelry to trade between the two of us. So far, we said goodbye to all of our friends from Belmont, my neighbors, my family, my favorite PM crowd, the lovely humans over at Bongo, and finally, Frisbee and Regine. Other friends said goodbye earlier via email, Facebook, phone, or at lunch earlier in the week. Between all the discombobulation of the week, it made it hard between work and preparing for the trip to look for our memorabilia. Ultimately, we ended up going to a superstore to buy initial beads, suede, a locked heart charm, and a key charm. Creating our own jewelry was the only way to encompass the mixed emotions we are both feeling as I prepare to leave.
With all the goodbyes and preparation through, here I lay waiting for morning to come. In that morning I will load my army duffel filled with a rucksack and my backpack for one of the greatest adventures of my life. Instead of looking at it as a separation from all the things that make my life comfortable, I look at it as the best living to my principles that I could and an opportunity for a spirit quest like no other. With much love.