It All Started With a Bucket List
When I was in high school, I wrote out a bucket list.
It was a pretty adventurous bucket list to say the least.
Although it had some common goals like going to my dream university and graduating, it mostly consisted of traveling to far off places.
Places like New Zealand, Europe, maybe even South America.
As I was approaching graduation, (from my favorite University that I did happen to get into) I had a sudden wave of wanderlust hit me HARD.
If you enjoy traveling, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
All at once all you can think about is going somewhere new. Exploring. Learning about and experiencing new cultures.
Wanderlust is exciting, terrifying, and awesome all at the same time.
I had been saving my money and wanted to travel for a bit after graduation, but wasn’t sure how or with who I would travel with (or if it would happen at all).
I like to think I’m adventurous but not so adventurous to run off by myself.
Then one day in early December, I came across a study abroad application through my university to New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji.
When I read the description of what it consisted of, that wave of wanderlust came over me again. It would hit you too if you read a description that included penguin watching, glacier hiking, and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.
I wanted to go so bad it was overwhelming.
But almost immediately I tried suppressing that desire and started to come up with excuses of why I couldn’t go:
“That would be incredible, but I probably shouldn’t spend all my money on that.”
“My parents probably wouldn’t approve or would worry if I went.”
“I probably should stay home for the summer and find a job, like i’m supposed to do.” (Gross.)
I closed my laptop and continued on with my day.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Finally, I called my dad and asked him what he would think If I went. Surprisingly he was pretty supportive, but I was still hesitant.
I sent in my application just for the heck of it but told myself I probably wouldn’t go.
A few weeks went by and after a particularly stressful and miserable holiday break, I decided to cancel my application.
I was really upset about it. Pretty sure I cried after I hit the cancel button. Pathetic, I know.
The next few weeks I felt uneasy.
I kept trying to convince myself that It was best I stay home and save my money. I told myself that I didn’t need to go on another study abroad, and I should feel lucky that I even got to go on one ( 3 years earlier I went to Europe).
I told myself that one day I would make it over to New Zealand and live my dreams blah blah blah…
Out of what seemed nowhere, the professor in charge of the trip emailed me asking me to reconsider canceling my application and that there were still spots left.
I thought it a bit unusual because I had never heard of professors contacting those with canceled applications.
I had been praying about whether or not to go on the trip for months, and I felt like this email was my answer.
I remember talking about it with one of my dear friends. I will always remember what she said to me,
“Amy, you never know why you were even led to find the application in the first place. Maybe you are supposed to go.”
After that, I resent my application, got accepted, and then patiently anticipated for July when I would embark on the greatest adventure of my life.
The Adventure of a Lifetime
I’m a very firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
There are no accidents, there are no coincidences.
Just promptings, very important choices, and outcomes.
I changed quite a bit on that trip. I became less judgmental, more patient, more outgoing, and a little less of a perfectionist.
I made lasting friendships with people who changed my life.
I may not always remember details, but I will remember how beautiful everything was.
I look back on that trip and still can’t believe it happened. It’s been two years now.
I can’t believe a shy girl from Utah got to see penguins, whales, koalas, crocodiles, and dolphins (all wild) up close.
Can’t believe I got to “grill fish on the bobby” with the coolest Austrailian guide in the world. That fish was the best I’ve ever had by the way.
I’m still in shock that I got to go on a sweet sailboat and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
The nerd inside me still geeks out at the thought of having visited Hobbiton.
I still tear up thinking of the precious kids in Fiji who had next to nothing but were so happy and kind.
I’ll always remember sitting in a crowded van of college students feeling so happy and blessed. I’ll forever be grateful for that trip.
Stop Dreaming, Start Doing
The moral of this very long story is more than just travel inspiration. You can make your dreams happen. You can cross grand adventures off your bucket list.
If you have the ability to make it happen, then make it happen.
Stop coming up with excuses why you can’t or shouldn’t do something.
If you feel it’s right take the risk and do it!
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher