Adventure, Anxiety, and Absurdly Long Flights

It’s been a busy few days–I tried to pack everything I could possibly need while simultaneously only packing the things I needed. It’s a fine line to walk, but I finally managed to fit a semester’s worth of living into two suitcases and a duffle bag. In between packing, I’ve alternated between telling myself, “I can’t wait to finally just get to Melbourne,” and “I really hope this experience turns out okay.”

As I was finishing up my last-minute packing tonight, my mother asked me, “Are you too excited to be nervous, too nervous to be excited, or managing to mix the two?” My honest answer: “I have no idea.”

When I was deciding whether to apply to study abroad in Ireland or Australia, one of my parents’ major arguments in favor of Ireland was the massive distance from Maryland (my home state) to Melbourne. I dismissed this argument fairly quickly—I didn’t see how the distance would matter. It would be a long plane ride either way. But now that I am facing a five-hour flight tomorrow, followed by another fifteen-hour flight (!!!), I’m feeling a lot less cavalier.

In this hours before I begin my journey, I’m forced to deal with two parts of myself. One part, the part that led me to study abroad in the first place, is dying to start my adventure. I can’t wait to actually disembark my plane onto a new (to me) continent, meet my roommate, and start exploring the city. The other part of me—well, it enjoys reminding me that I’m an introvert with anxiety, and this is the farthest I’ve ever traveled from home. It’s also been screaming the words “fifteen hour flight,” just to make sure I haven’t forgotten what awaits me tomorrow.

I feel excited and nervous, adventurous and terrified. I leave on Tuesday afternoon, and will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday morning. This semester is going to be interesting.

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