When I was a little girl I became fixated on Scotland. The reason is silly, as most of a 14-year-old's reasons for just about anything are apt to be, but I soon found myself completely captivated by this beautiful ancient land. I spent every free moment I had in our library reading and absorbing all the books on Scotland I could. Soon I had exhausted the children's section, and moved on to the regular stacks. I read every poem by Burns I could, I learned the songs, I practiced my accent, and I told myself that someday, come hell or high water, I'd get to go.
When I did get the opportunity to travel to the UK, 10 years ago this July, I got moved from the trip that would go to Scotland to the one that didn't. At the time I was incredibly heartbroken, but it just made me more resolute in my determination to someday go. I always thought that it was rather funny how I lived in a land that a lot of people dreamed of, but for me, the place I dreamed of going was the polar opposite of my home. It feels very silly to write all this about a place I've never been to, and have utterly romanticized for 12 years, but sometimes dreams are silly. And really it makes sense. Scotland is sort of the conglomeration of all my deeply loved interests. The nature, the rain, the music, the food, the textiles, the animals, the history, the politics (or at least the historical ones), it's always just felt very "me."
When I moved back to California, I instantly regretted not sticking it out in Oregon. I've been plotting ways to get back ever since. California has never been for me. That's okay. When it became evident that moving back to Oregon was not in my near future, I started dreaming up taking trips to every other part of the globe. Scotland was always my first pick. It's never worked out. But I'd spend hours on the internet just looking at pictures of various places I've always dreamed of going. I spent a good majority of my days daydreaming of hiking glaciers in Iceland, being dwarfed by high Fjords in Norway, of standing on a Moor in the Highlands, my skirt blowing about in the wind. I know that I tend to romanticize everything, but I just want to see places that leave me breathless and in awe. That remind me of how small I am, yet how loved I am for all this to have been created for me to enjoy. I want salt water mist in my hair, foggy, haunting mornings, endless nights of sunshine, and nary a high of 100* in sight. My sisters, my friends, and I were gun-ho to go, but y'know, life.
That whole life business was always other people's, never mine. I don't mean for any of this to sound depressing, (because I really am quite the opposite) but the truth of the matter is that I work a job I hate, live in a town I hate, have very few friends who are available to get together when I am, and generally have no idea what I am doing or where I am going. I want a lot of things in my life, and have no idea how to get them. I've spent the nearly two years I've been back in California trying to get back on my feet financially (student loans man...), and it has majorly sucked. But now I find myself at a place where I have a little more to spare, and not a whole lot of reasons to stick around. My resolution for this year has been to stop suffering for other people. It sounds selfish, but in truth I am usually the one who gets the short end of the stick. I'm a bleeding saint when it comes to trying to help other people get ahead. I cheer them on, I listen, I let them cry, and I do my best to build people up. I love doing that. But then I'm the one left behind, I'm the one who people forget to call and tell they'll be two and a half hours late because I'm always patient, I'm the one who sits back listening to everyone talk about their lives and New Exciting Adventure they are about to embark on while all I have to look forward to is maybe getting to go to Chipotle tomorrow while I'm at work. I love these people, and my lack of a "life" is not at all their fault, but in my head I keep telling myself, no I can't go do X because I need to be here for them. This year I decided to put myself first. I'm doing something for me.
So right now I am sitting in the Boston Airport. I am giddy writing that. I am scared, nervous, terrified, anxious. I keep crying. Both because I am so so completely nervous, and because I could not be happier right now. I'm going on an Adventure. A wild, crazy, wonderful Adventure. I'm waiting to board a plane that will take me to an Exciting New Adventure. I will get off the plane, and then I will get back on another plane, and wake up in Iceland. I'll spend a month working on a farm in Iceland before I ship off to Norway, and spend a month working on a farm there. And then I will jet off one more time to finally get to see Scotland where I will remain for 5 months working on a farm. I have no idea what will happen while I am there. There will be sheep, and cattle, and vegetables. I might hate it. But I don't think I will.
I've been hardcore planning this all since November, and talking about it since September and it has nearly killed me to keep silent. This is such a dream trip, and I have been terrified of something going awry. Only a very few select people have known up to this point and I'm actually still so incredibly nervous to tell people. But it's here. I am going. I'm terrified. I'm elated. I have no idea what to expect. I have no idea what my internet access will be like for the next 7 months. But I will do my best to share as much of this adventure I am on as possible.
There's so much more I want to say. So much I am feeling, that I can't even figure out how to put into words. I feel like I am standing on one side of a door that leads to more than I can possibly imagine. I feel like my life is about to change. But adequate words fail me. So I'll end with a crappy picture of me from this morning at LAX as I said goodbyes, cried a whole lot, and had the hardest time ever letting go of Gracie. But I am ready. Ready for a new beginning. Ready for adventure. Ready for everything.
And that is Grace skulking in the background. Probably my favourite part of this.