The Time Has Come

By Madalin L.
Group 2

I am ready to go. I’m all packed up and my boots are broken in. In a few short hours, I’ll be on my way. Yet, oddly it almost doesn’t feel like it. I previously completed a study abroad to Italy last summer and I still remember the mess of emotions I was when it came time to leave. I was beyond excited; after all it has been I lifelong dream to travel the world and it was finally happening. I was also nervous beyond belief. I’d spend three weeks with a group of people I barely knew in a place I didn’t even speak the language, and then take off on my own for a week. I had no idea what to expect and part of that scared me.

This time, however, it is a completely different experience — leaving feels different. I am still extremely excited, but the nerves and other emotions are not the same. The pre-departure hesitations are long since passed and there is a calmness to me unlike before. Maybe my previous experience provides me comfort in facing the unknown. Maybe it is because mentally I’ve already left. In fact, many people, especially those at work, have teased me about not really being there for weeks now. In class, we’ve had this discussion about when does the departure for a pilgrimage really take place, when you say goodbye and board your plane or when you cease your regular routine and replace with preparations. Personally, I’ve come to think that departure is in part both mental and physical.