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A Kat's Tale: Keeping up with Katryna

Pre-Departure and In-Flight Ponderings

USA | Thursday, 15 January 2015 | Views [489] | Comments [1]

Ugh, those feelings.


I mean, how can one person experience so many emotions in such a short span of time?


It is some kind of overload, similar to when you try to run too many programs simultaneously on a computer and it starts going really slowly or just freezes on you. Our poor human brains. Capable of immense possibilities, but so fragile at the same time. You would think evolution would have helped us out a bit more on this front. Feelings suck, but I guess they’re necessary...how else would those little girl guides at your door get you to buy their overpriced cookies? You have a hard time saying no to them because you FEEL they’re cute. Or maybe a better example is when you FEEL guilty about calling in sick to work so you go in anyway. Really, brain? Emotional intelligence: it will either be the downfall or the saving grace of the human population.


Well, where do I start? The last week has been absolutely crazy. I have said “see ya later” to many people in my life. You have all been so supportive and thoughtful. The fact that a lot of you went out of your way to see me before I left because you couldn’t make it to my good-bye shindig was really touching. Every message and phone call I have received has made me feel loved and I am blessed to be surrounded by people like you.


When I started actually planning this adventure several months ago (although in my head it had been planned for far longer), it all seemed surreal. Even when I booked my one-way flights, I only had a second of hesitation. When I registered for my TEFL course it seemed like nothing. When I booked my hostel for the first night in Lima, it wasn’t anything special; and so on, and so on. In theory, I was as ready as I possibly could be for this adventure.


If I had to choose one word to characterize how the last week has made me feel I would say “overwhelmed.” Like, severely. Every time I saw someone and knew it was the last time I would see them for a long time, I choked up a little bit more. By the time I arrived at YVR and was saying bye to my Mom, I couldn’t even speak without breaking out in tears. WHO AM I?!


Every time I receive a phone call or text message or email or facebook chat from someone with last minute wishes and thoughts, I am somewhat reassured. And then I think about that person who contacted me, I realize I won’t see them for a long time, and the anxiety creeps up again. I don’t really know why. I’m not new to world travels. I’ve gone international before and I’ve been fine. The difference this time is that I don’t have a set return date, or even a set itinerary after the first month, and the only word to describe THAT feeling is absolutely, unresputidley terrifying.


Don’t get me wrong. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to follow one of my dreams. I mean, I worked really hard to make it happen, but I managed, and it’s becoming a reality. How often have you done that? Really done that? This is completely unjustified in so many ways. Let me explain: I justified my dream of going to university because in our society, it is the next natural step after high school, and supposedly helps you get better job options, et cetera. I justified becoming a lifeguard, and then a first aid instructor, because it would help me pay for school and rent. I justified organizing and running a full fledged lifeguard competition two years in a row because it provided an educational experience and showed I was capable of management skills. I justified going on two archaeological field schools, because I wanted to look really good on paper when I finally applied for jobs. Do you see a trend yet?I’ve never simply chased down a dream for the sake of it. This time, it’s the opposite. I am traveling, for the sake of traveling. Everything else is just white noise.


Freedom. Too much of it is a bit frightening. We are so used to our daily lives in the rat-race that I think we forget what we are capable of. Wake up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat dinner, do some random but probably not life-changing things, and go to bed. Every. Single. Day. I’m not critizing anyone for this routine; I’m guilty of it myself and it’s how our society works. But it’s also how we get by. How we survive. I’m sick of simply surviving. I want to live.


Okay so maybe this is sounding all meta-bullshit and a bit radical, and I did just watch The Matrix trilogy before Christmas so there is some potential for recent bias in how I see the world, but at some point I think you have to accept that you know you aren’t living the life you want to be living, and then you have the choice of what to do about that fact. As previously stated in my first blog entry, 2014 was the year I finally admitted it was time to do something about that. So here I am, sitting in the JFK airport in New York, waiting at the gate for the next leg of my flight to take me to my dreams.


When I was in grade seven we had a substitute teacher that ended up taking over our class after our regular teacher went on a stress-leave. Everyone thought he was a jerk. He would tell us that we always have a choice. I absolutely hated that phrase. In my naive mind I would come up with infinite situations in which I believed I wouldn’t have a choice: the house catches fire- of course you leave the building! Someone robs you at gunpoint- of course you give them your stuff! It took me years to understand what that teacher meant (to clarify I likely would still make those decisions if put in those situations, but you catch my drift. One could theoretically CHOOSE to stay in a burning building or stand up to an armed robbery). Many people have told me over the past while that they think what I’m doing is inspiring, brave, they wish they could do it, they’re jealous. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood here- I love the amount of support people in my life have given me for this decision. It is astounding. I deeply appreciate all commentary on what I’ve chosen to do; however, when I hear comments like the above there is always a little voice in the back of my mind questioning why those people don’t choose to make their dreams happen.


Okay I need to back up a step here, because I’m starting to sound pretentious and callous. I completely understand why there is a general hesitancy to change directions in life. There are a TON of factors involved, believe me. It is emotionally draining (and I haven’t even reached my destination yet). I had this conversation with a close friend of mine the other day and they pointed out that a lot of the time it is a priority issue. Whatever the main priority in your life is will always come first over everything else if you let it. But don’t you choose your priorities? Aren’t you in charge of your life? I was raised to believe that if you really want to do something, there is almost nothing that can stand in your way of achieving it. You work hard enough, you put in the time and effort, and you will likely succeed. I was also raised to not give up. I think the phrase I remember hearing most growing up was “if at first you don’t succeed, try again.” Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m restless and unsettled, maybe I don’t find the typical life routine satisfying, and maybe that’s enough to push me to change my life. There are a thousand maybes out there. All you can do is find the one that sounds most interesting to you and take a chance on it.


So yes, I am terrified. Moreso than I even like to admit. I have had multiple bouts of anxiety in the last few weeks. I’ve had moments where I stopped what I was doing and had a minor freak out, asking myself what the hell I am doing. I even had a moment where I briefly considered canceling the whole thing, because I got so overwhelmed.  I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if I’ll love this dream as much as I think I will. I could hate it. I could be miserable and decide that it isn’t for me, and I could be home much sooner than I had planned to be. Or I could fall absolutely, unequivicolly in love with my new life path. All I know at this point is if I don’t at least try, I’ll never know what I could be missing out on. Life is full of choices and consequences, after all, it’s just that most of the choices we make are small daily ones. Once in a while, a choice comes along that has a bit more of an impact on your life. This happens to be one of those times in my life.


And so, friends, family, colleagues, and the wide world of the Internet: if I have one thing I can say to you, it is that I am not inspiring or brave or crazy or anything else. I have made a choice. It is a choice with more risk and more potential complications than deciding to have Chinese food for dinner, but it also has a potential higher return for life satisfaction. In my eyes, that’s worth the risk.


Hugs, and infinite amounts of love, from New York.


P.S. I likely will not have as frequent internet access once I land in Peru tonight, so don’t worry if it takes me longer than normal to respond. I am also keeping my phone in airplane mode until I can get a local SIM card for it to avoid ridiculous long-distance roaming charges. As of the 16th, my BC phone number will no longer be in service. This means you must use Skype or Google Hangouts video to call me. Send me a message online to set up a video call time!


P.P.S. I have not gotten much sleep lately so if  I rambled a lot in this entry I apologize. I did attempt to edit!

P.P.P.S. I am now 3 hours ahead of you if you live in the PST time zone, and I will be as long as I am on the west coast of South America (at least for the next month). If my time zone changes again I will post an update.

Tags: anxiety, emotions, excited, feelings, goodbyes, great unknown, heading out, leaving, loved, nervous



You have so many people in your life that love you and care about YOU and are so excited to see you follow your dreams. You rock!

  Michelle Jan 16, 2015 4:06 PM

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