Today is the day we are leaving; our flight departs in 11 hours. Every few hours for the past couple of days, Al or I will look at the other and ask for what seems like the millionth time:
How do you feel?
We have spent so long planning, saving, dreaming about this day, that it all feels really surreal. There has been so much time to build up to this experience and now that it is here, I don’t really know how to take it all in.
A few nights ago, Al asked me the ‘how do you feel’ question (again), I found myself saying my fear out loud:
What if it isn’t what we thought it would be?
I know it sounds ridiculous, how can you not love traveling the world with your best friend and husband? But when you plan and dream of something for so long, and it is finally about to come true, there is a little bit of doubt that can creep in:
What if the dream is better than the reality?
Everyone always says you shouldn’t meet your heroes, you’ll just end up disappointed. What if it is the same when you go after your big life goals?
Over the next few days with this thought floating around in my head, I started getting random flashes of various moments of my life (usually when I would be doing really mundane tasks, like taking a shower or washing the dishes):
Al and I sitting in a computer lab between classes in college looking up work abroad programs in Australia; that time we just started dating and I angrily stomped up the stairs of my apartment when he announced he was going to Costa Rica over the summer without me; sitting in an internet cafe in Thailand as we desperately tried to figure out how we could get him to come visit me (he didn’t). I remembered the time I sat in a hostel in the middle of Botswana (pre FaceTime and smartphone days), and I heard the one available pay phone ring from the middle of a courtyard: a groundskeeper came in and told me there was a phone call for me, Al had somehow managed to track me down in the middle of nowhere to ask me what Africa was like.
More memories flood in; days when I would commute to work on the brown line, face smashed against a window because of how crowded it was, I would close my eyes and try to imagine this day. I remembered the time Al and I sat in an airport bar in Denver, and I looked at him and said ‘can you imagine how amazing it would feel if instead of flying back to Chicago, we were getting ready to fly out and travel?’
It felt like these memories were flooding in and reminding me that this is what we have wanted for so long, this is almost all we have wanted for so long, and we are ACTUALLY doing it. All these different moments compiled on top of each other to get to us to the point where we are now, making this dream happen.
So, what if it isn’t what we thought it would be? Then it isn’t what we thought it would be. But, I am glad we are going to find out ourselves, instead of spending another 10 years imagining it in our heads. I am so happy that we’ve made this decision, that we have decided to throw a lasso around our wildest dream and pull it down to earth, making it real.
This morning I didn’t hesitate when he asked me again, how do you feel?
Ready. I feel ready.