I surprisingly woke up early for once. These past two weeks being jobless and having nothing to do has worked wonders on my sleeping schedule–by worked wonders I really mean I stay up later than ever but have nothing to worry about waking up for.
Normally if I woke up this early (8 am) I wouldn’t even second guess drifting back into my slumber but is different although it doesn’t feel it. It’s about ten minutes before my mom leaves for work so I lay there staring at the ceiling. I can’t help but realize how normal of a day it felt. In less than a day I will be across the globe.
Those ten minutes felt like eternity. But not the dreadful kind of eternity but a melancholy one. I felt ready. My mom walks in and we say our goodbyes. The next time I see her will be mid August. I lay there for a few more minutes soaking in what will be my last few minutes in my bed. Ironically enough this isn’t really my bed. I have no bed. I left my bed with good ol NYC sanitation a few weeks prior but this is about as close as I’m going to get.
I spend the next few hours slowly making sure I have everything packed. I didn’t want to rush into packing. I didn’t want to rush this morning. For the first time everything was going to run on my time.
After making myself breakfast and doing some last minute google searches it starts to hit me. It’s twelve pm and my ride will be arriving in two hours. Up until this moment I felt no form of anxiety. Nothing at all–I was in perfect melancholy. But like the tide rising on a beach, butterflies slowly started to rise in my stomach. The butterflies and I spent the rest of that time double and triple checking EVERYTHING I had packed. Finally they subsided.
I looked back at the clock and it’s a quarter to two and my ride is around the corner. I put my jacket on the table and throw my pack on. The butterflies are back. We pace back and forth walking from the from the living room, to the kitchen to the den. Each time a I hear a car I peek out the blinds to see nothing but a cloudy sky.
Finally I heard it right.
The first step to my journey is about to begin. I lock the door behind me as I proudly head out the back and turn the corner. There it is my silver bullet to freedom. I am just waiting to see my friend Rocco’s reaction to me having nothing but a backpack on. There it is, a simple door open and a jaw drop followed by a “are you serious bro? that’s all you’re bringing?!”
The next stop is not the airport but Party City. I am stopping by to say goodbye to my brother. He has been holding off his break till I get there. The ride there is filled with butterflies. I’m starting to realize that I really won’t be traveling alone. It’ll be me and butterflies. Rocco is talking to me but my focus is sporadic. I have nothing and everything on my mind at the same time. The idea that I am really about to live out of a backpack thousands of miles away is starting to sink in. I check the clock again. Quarter after two. Is time really going this slow or am I losing my mind?
As if on cue, we pull into the parking spot and Nick walks out with this grin on his face. We spend the next 15 minutes eating pizza and bullshitting. As Rocco goes to use the bathroom me and Nick talk about how wild this trip is. I can see something in his eyes I never saw before. He continues to tell me how this trip will be me testing the waters for if I will live there or not. Instantly something he told me two years ago has appeared in my head.
It was right before I moved to the city. “I can see you living there for two years than moving somewhere else for two years. ” This was strange to me. It was several months since me and him last saw each other and the idea of me moving so soon after he got back was rough enough. But he seemed okay with that idea which made me okay with it. I never even considered what I would do after living in the city. I assumed I would just come back home, leaving to live somewhere else wasn’t even a thought and with that a seed was planted.
“This trip will be like renting a house” he pauses “it’s like renting a house in a neighborhood for a week to see if you like the feel of it”. There it was again. That look in his eyes. It seemed so familiar. Then it hit me. I realized what I was seeing was how similar we both are. For the first time I saw myself in him and realized he wasn’t a kid anymore. Again I felt comfort that had his support on this. We say our goodbyes as Rocco and I drive west as my plane is leaving in a few hours.
Conversation continues in the car but my stomach is tied in knots. We are about 30 minutes away when we reating thud coming from driver side. Rocco and I look at each other. We both had the same idea, it can’t be a flat can it?! Luckily we realize that it’s just the pavement playing games with us.
I am about fifteen minutes away as I realize I forgot my only jacket. Wonderful. Soon after that I realize that money I received as a gift is not in my pocket. I am now ten minutes away and I forgot two very important things. Oddly enough this realizations distracts the butterflies as I search through everything in reach about 30 times. As I arrive to the terminal so does the place that I left them. My jacket is sitting on the table and money is in my pajama’s pocket. Nothing I can do now but say my farewells to Rocco and let my mom know that I left them. I can’t help but laugh, my trip hasn’t even begun and I am already on an adventure. At least it wasn’t my passport right?
After making it through my first solo flight check in and security point I head straight to the nearest bar. I needed nothing more than a beer after all of that. I post my first backpacking photo to Facebook and watch all of the likes and comments flow in.
I get an odd satisfactions from them. “Look at what you’re doing Chris” I tell myself. “You are doing something people only dream of”. The butterflies settle into a drunken slumber as my body finally reaches melancholy again. I stand on line and await my departure. “We are now boarding at Gate 31, we are now boarding at Gate 31”
Europe here I come.