24 Days: Countdown to My New Life in the Peace Corps

Oceania

I can sit here and tell you a harrowing tale of excitement, suspense, and fearless adventure, but that would be a lie, and that’s not what we are about. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly cries here, and every adventure has a few teardrops along the way.


Saying goodbye to school and friends

Leaping headfirst into new chapters with only the basics and the wind at our backs. It’s kind of the Shut Up and Go way. It’s exhilarating and a little nerve-wracking, but new chapters are a part of life. Old friends, new friends, weddings, funerals, births, and sometimes graduations. May 2019 was supposed to be my walk across the stage. But a few months ago, I made the decision to ditch the 3-day long cap and gown fest and move across to the Pacific Islands.

Saying goodbye to the East Coast and city views

Let’s be honest no one was really surprised when I told them I was ditching graduation to move to Vanuatu for the next 27 months with the Peace Corps. It was pretty on brand.

For the first few months the excitement was all I could think about. But the more I realized what I had just committed to, more than just excitement started to penetrate the bubble I had created around myself. It was FOMO central every time I heard my friends talk about graduation, the last few weeks of parties, and all the amazing trips they might go on together before they all go their separate ways and embark the adulting life. I felt twinges of sadness when I realized how many milestones I might miss out on.

Milestones are kind of like life’s ear marks, so why not make the next page a little thrilling?

I’m neither Hermione nor do I possess a time turner, and time slows for no one. A lot can happen in 27 months, especially when you are moving hemispheres to a small island with limited internet access.

Saying goodbye to home and after work museum trips

Saying Goodbye is never easy—even for a seemingly distant Aquarius♒ like myself—so when it was time for me to say my final goodbyes over my winter break I was surprised with the wave of hesitation that hit me. My last night, as I was hugging my dad goodbye, and promising to call often and stay safe, doubts over my decisions started mounting. Sure, a little nerve here and there is expected, but never doubt. How could I just leave my family and the safety of familiarity and move to an island I was barely aware of? I mean no one actually drops everything and gives in to their dreams, let alone a recent first gen college graduate. That’s crazy talk.

Saying hello to adventure

Now that would be a tragic tale; to end your story before it even began.

I can still cancel my trip. I can give in to the fear that keeps creeping in. I can walk on graduation, go back home, find a cushy job in DC, and wrangle in trips once or twice a year. I could still live the “good life.” But, ultimately self-doubt is just you looking in the mirror and finding your fears staring back. FeAr???? I don’t know her. I can’t know her.

We always talk about our now, or our futures, but never about the sometimes messy transition between those chapters. If I let the self-doubt creeping in win now, I’ll stay stuck, forever wondering why I never got to a future I refused to fight for. Sure, I’m a little sad about leaving everything behind (especially my dad) but come on, it’s the internet age…

This isn’t goodbye. Just a see you later.

Comment below when you’ve had to take a leap of faith for your happiness. 

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