The date is November 27th, 2018.

I wake up to the sound of my alarm, as loud and annoying as ever. As my eyes jolt open, my blurry suitcase comes into focus just past my hotel nightstand.

Today is the day.

As expected, I didn’t get much sleep last night. Too many things to think about, get excited about, and worry about all at the same time. I round up my luggage, say my final goodbyes to my family, and hop onto the airport shuttle.

family hug

As the shuttle cruises through Seattle, I look out the window to watch the sunrise light up the cascades one last time. It’s as beautiful as ever, and I know I’ll miss it dearly.

There’s one other dude on the shuttle, but we didn’t say a word during the ride. Both of us were alone, still half asleep, and draped in bags, backpacks, and suitcases. I had no idea where he was going, but I could feel that we were on similar paths. Two strangers on our way to the airport, preparing for a takeoff into the unknown.

boy on bus
Other shuttle dude. Wonder where he ended up flying off to . . .

Whenever you’re about to make a big change in your life, there’s always a moment where the gravity of the situation really hits you. This felt like that moment.

I’ve gone to airports before- many times in fact- but this time, it felt very different. Not only was this going to be the furthest I’ve ever flown away from home, but it was also my first time booking a one-way ticket, with no clue of a return date. A true solo travel launch with no end in sight.

I’d spent months running through this day in my mind, but nothing can truly prepare you for it.

Thankfully, I had the peace of mind of knowing that I’d gotten things started the right way, by scoring a free flight and place to stay in Australia. But, as all solo travel folk know, these things are just the tip of the iceberg when you’re uprooting your entire life. All I knew was this: No matter what happened in the next year, good or bad, I was going to make sure I viewed every day as an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being.

With this in mind, I made my way through the airport, and settled into my seat on the plane. Just minutes later, I was watching Mt. Rainier fade into the distance.

airplane wing with mountain

Next stop: Melbourne, Australia!

To be continued…


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