One Year Later

Trip Start Jul 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 21, 2013

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Sunday, July 21, 2013

Do you ever think, after something happens, where you were this time yesterday? This time last year? This time yesterday I was at a friends lake house, this time last week I was in a car driving home from New York, but this time last year? I was literally on a plane to Ecuador and starting my year abroad.
I woke up this morning not thinking about it, though it had crossed my mind a few days before, and then at some point I just saw "July 21st" out there somewhere and it clicked in my head what today is. And then my mind blew a little bit.
I can't believe that 365 days exactly have passed since I took off on that plane. I think of myself sitting in the Charlotte airport, grinning to myself that day about everything I didn't know was gonna happen. I see myself now, reminiscing about everything that ended up as part of my life. Funny how things are like that.
My mom asked me today, "What would you tell someone who was about to do what you did?" My only answer was just "Get ready." Because all you can do looking at the future is to be open to anything life can throw at you. There was no way I could have expected the people I met, the ones I became close with, the culture I was about to immerse myself in, the real life problems I would have to deal with, how the world was about to slam itself in my face, anything, really. But at that moment leaving Charlotte, I was ready for anything.
Looking back, there is nothing I can think of except for gratitude and sheer humility against the greatness and vastness of this world. The most important thing I learned, I think, is that I know nothing. And no matter how much I travel or study or experience, I will still know (relatively) nothing about anything, and that is why I will always love to travel. That realization and the humility inspires because it just means there is so much out there to learn and discover. Experiencing another culture with open eyes and an open heart taught me more about myself and existence on this planet than anything else ever has.
The crazy memories, the sad memories, and the many many memories of just bliss and life; I am thankful for them all. Most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity to live freely - because as I go into college next month, and probably for the rest of my life, never again will I be a true nomad of the world with my backpack on my back and the never ending road under my feet. For the rest of my life I will reminisce about that feeling: zero obligations and the world at my fingertips. 'Twas grand.
Moving forward, I have changed immensely, grown a lot, and learned that there is something to be discovered wherever you go. Now it's on to the next chapter: College. Lets go!
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