The Beginning

Hello sweet readers,

I will begin at the beginning – I suppose it’s only appropriate. It’s strange to reflect on my introduction to wandering. I remember how absolutely terrified I was by the newness, the unknown and the uncharted territory. Full disclosure, this terror has not vanished. However, I have learned how to wave hello to my fear when it arises, and promptly set it free. But at the beginning all I could do was wave hello, again and again until I spiraled – I am guessing some of you can relate.

On September 21st 2016, I sat in my parent’s car sobbing. “Why am I doing this?” I asked, hands curling around my brand-new REI pack. Truthfully, it was a useless question because all I could hear were my own thoughts. “I’m making a mistake. I can’t leave now. It is definitely not safe.”

I had spent the past three years of my life collecting furniture, pots and pans, cozy blankets, and incredible Craigslist couches. I had earned a Bachelor’s degree that would sit in my mailbox, unopened, collecting dust. I had settled in the first place that ever truly felt like home. So really, why the fuck was I leaving it behind?

Why would I uproot my life, leave the person I had been seeing, my family and friends, and my home? Simply to set out an explore an entirely different continent entirely alone, with no semblance of a real plan? Why would I commit to spending my 22nd birthday away from my family? Or willingly share the same smelly room with other backpackers, carrying all their belongings on their backs? The questions continued as I pulled my overstuffed pack onto my back at SEA-TAC.

Weighed down by fears and my 80L pack I printed out my boarding pass – the plane ticket was purchased and despite everything, I was determined to sit my ass in that plane seat. I had to trust that letting go would come naturally, and the weight of my fears would drop as my journey progressed. So I hugged my parents and embarked on my journey – with a very wet and puffy face. And by putting one foot in front of another I found myself sitting on an international flight headed to London.

It is particularly strange to look back on my beginning because it is not a side of my wanderings I often share. I read this post to my partner the other day and he said to me, “I had no idea you were that scared.”

Often, I think people, myself included, edit their fear and sadness out of their stories. Perhaps folks feel that vulnerability will not inspire. I feel quite the opposite. I want you to know that I cried, I called home, I felt lonely and lost. I admire the people who truly thrive on wandering from the very beginning of their stories. But if you are like me and are apprehensive about the unknown, know that you are not alone. You will learn how to root into yourself, your heart, your power and you will become your own home. And as you realize how damn incredible you are, you will learn how to set your fears free.

For now, I will hold the torch for you. Even if you don’t yet know it, I see your power and I am excited for you to begin wanderings. And if you need more time, read on as I post every week and know that you will set out when you feel called to do so.

With love,

Annalise