A week before my flight, I started to have a deep appreciation for the things I had in life. For example, when I would drive my car, I would think, "How lucky am I to afford a car and be able to drive from point A to point B, so easily?" or, "How lucky am I to be physically able to drive this car?" I also thought, "How lucky am I to have a good job?" and, "How lucky am I to have a nice home and a loving family who just wants to see me succeed?" or even, "How lucky am I to even be alive and able to think about these things?" I then started to contemplate whether I really wanted to venture off into the unknown and completely out of my comfort zone.
One thing that you should know about me is that I have a very close relationship with my mom. Even though I have half-siblings, I grew up like an only child. I was very sensitive and often got bullied in school. Through it all, my mom offered unconditional support and became like a sister and best friend over the years. So, as the day of me flying over the Atlantic, into the unknown and without her came seemingly closer, the more uncertain and scared I became.
The reality of it all hit me 24 hours before the flight. I had experienced anxiety in the past, but never like this. I was shaking, crying and sick to my stomach. I couldn't breathe, eat or sleep. The terror I felt was almost indescribable. But why? I had planned this months ago and was so excited and prepared. I began to seriously doubt myself and wonder how I thought I could do something like this. What was I thinking when I signed up? Gone for three whole months? Being away from everything that I know and being away from my mom? I couldn't do it. After hours of panicking and listening to all of the different voices coming from my family and friends, I concluded that I wasn't strong enough and ended up canceling the flight an hour before departure.
Although that night I was finally able to eat and sleep, I woke up early feeling deep regret and sadness. I wished I could turn back time and redo the previous day. It was almost as if my life flashed before my eyes! I would go back to my job and look back wondering, "What if?" I had the chance to teach and travel at such a perfect time in my life. Who would I have met? What would I have seen? What would I have learned? Everything was ready for me in Spain, I had been in contact with my host family and teacher who were amazing, supportive and kind. I had the encouragement and support of CIEE's Hilary and Miranda, who I had been emailing and calling back and forth. And lastly, the main reason for me going to Spain was to experience teaching, a new culture, to learn a language and to break free of my comfort zone and all the fears attached to it. This all was an important puzzle piece that would be forever missing if I gave up on the opportunity.
So what did I do? I booked another flight. I decided to push against my fears and do something that I knew in my heart would be one of the greatest experiences of my life. The best part of it all was that my mom decided to accompany me for the first few days. She helped settle me in and also got in a little vacation of her own!