Last year was a whirlwind. I honestly had no clue where life was taking me, and I still don’t. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, and I didn’t know where would I go for post graduation. I didn’t know how to deal with heartbreaks, and I didn’t know how to love myself without someone else loving me.
I made an impulse decision to just leave.
But there was a problem. Although I’m 19, my parents assume I’m 9. I don’t have the freedom to just pack my bags, grab my passport and get out of the house. I needed to have a plan, and I made it. I knew I needed to get some answers for myself, but do something worthwhile with my summer break.
I wanted to go see places, and understand cultures beyond what YouTube and the Sociology lectures told me. I wanted to understand myself. Was I the kind of person who could survive in a room full of strangers, handle responsibility and respond well to problems? Would I break down if I was stuck in an airport, with no flights to my destination and no cash? How would I respond to being given caterpillars to eat? Could I handle being thrown into a place completely alien to me? I needed to know, because these things would be important if I was to pursue my dream.
I also wanted to make a small difference. I am no child prodigy, I can’t change millions of lives at once. But touching only a single soul would suffice, I told myself, and started to look for things that would give me an opportunity to chase my dreams. This was perhaps the last summer break I could have to scratch some things off my bucket list, and I intended to make full use of it.
I found this amazing organisation called IVHQ, offering volunteering programmes throughout the world. I didn’t know where to go. The options ranged from Europe and South America to Africa, all continents I hadn’t been to before. I decided Latin America would have to wait, owing to their crazy flight fares. Europe was something I would like to go to with friends, on a road trip. Africa it was.
Which country? I came down to five. Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. After a lot of struggling, I chose one. I’m not letting you know which country I chose. I must leave a little something for you to come back and follow this journey.
Now I have 21 days to go. I have tons of shopping to do, vaccinations to take (my arm already hurts from two vaccinations, but they just aren’t enough). I need to read up a little and come up with ideas for my project, and I need to learn the basics of a new language. All I know are the greetings. And most of all, I need to stop getting so anxious. Everything is going to be okay.