11/3/14

Tiny Traveler: Becca

Everything I Didnt Know Before
By: Becca Nelson

I should have known what I was getting into.  After all, you cant possibly expect to travel to five different countries in Europe and then move to Latin America—all within a month and a half—without being changed.
A year ago, I had to stop and think about what was really important to me.  Was it living on my own?  Was it going to grad school?  Was it paying off debt?
All good things, but I couldnt do them all.  When I was really honest with myself, I wanted to travel.  I wanted to go to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland to see where my grandmother was born.  I wanted to sit on the rocks overlooking the Irish Sea.  I wanted to see the English moors that Ive only heard about from Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.  I wanted to order over-priced coffee in French.  I wanted to see a new part of the world.
But then, I began to feel the scarcity.  I looked at my bank account, and looked at my sad little paychecks from my two part-time jobs, and looked at the cost of a plane ticket across the Atlantic.  I didnt have to be very good at math to know that what I had was not enough. 
So I gave up my Chicago apartment and moved back in with my parents.  I stopped buying clothes for a year.  I picked up extra work hours whenever I could.  But as hard as I tried, I could barely put gas in my car, let alone save money for traveling.  I felt stress, and frustration, and hopelessness. 
But just when I needed it, another work opportunity fell into my lap, and the stipend they offered me was exactly what I needed.  And then my tax refund confirmed it—I was going to Europe.  Suddenly, I had enough.    
I was just about to get on my non-stop flight from Chicago to Dublin in the beginning of July when I got the job offer.

“How would you like to come teach in Guatemala?” the e-mail said. 
A few days later, at a YWCA by the Irish Sea, I said yes.
One month later, I flew back to Chicago, and 36 hours after that I got another plane headed to Guatemala City.  As hard as I tried to soothe the knot in my chest, it just wouldn’t go away.  The voices in my head were saying What if everything goes wrong?  What if you run out of money?  What if you get stranded in Guatemala, knowing only three phrases in Spanish?  I suppose the jet lag and sleep deprivation didnt help any, either.
Its funny how easily we can be overwhelmed by anxiety, how often we can feel not enoughWe dont have enough money.  We cant possibly make it.  These voices in our head keep us tied down.  They keep us inside our comfort zone.  They hinder us from exploring and learning and adventuring and growing. 
But I didnt know before that these voices arent true.
I didnt know before that Im braver than I think I am. 
I didnt know before that I am enough. 
It’s funny how these few little words can get in the way so often.  If you, too, are believing the un-truth, I want you to know that you are braver than you think you are. You, too, will find a way.  


You are enough. to.  After all, you cant possibly expect to travel to five different countries in Europe and then move to Latin America—all within a month and a half—without being changed.
A year ago, I had to stop and think about what was really important to me.  Was it living on my own?  Was it going to grad school?  Was it paying off debt?
All good things, but I couldnt do them all.  When I was really honest with myself, I wanted to travel.  I wanted to go to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland to see where my grandmother was born.  I wanted to sit on the rocks overlooking the Irish Sea.  I wanted to see the English moors that Ive only heard about from Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.  I wanted to order over-priced coffee in French.  I wanted to see a new part of the world.
But then, I began to feel the scarcity.  I looked at my bank account, and looked at my sad little paychecks from my two part-time jobs, and looked at the cost of a plane ticket across the Atlantic.  I didnt have to be very good at math to know that what I had was not enough. 
So I gave up my Chicago apartment and moved back in with my parents.  I stopped buying clothes for a year.  I picked up extra work hours whenever I could.  But as hard as I tried, I could barely put gas in my car, let alone save money for traveling.  I felt stress, and frustration, and hopelessness. 
But just when I needed it, another work opportunity fell into my lap, and the stipend they offered me was exactly what I needed.  And then my tax refund confirmed it—I was going to Europe.  Suddenly, I had enough.    

I was just about to get on my non-stop flight from Chicago to Dublin in the beginning of July when I got the job offer.
“How would you like to come teach in Guatemala?” the e-mail said. 
A few days later, at a YWCA by the Irish Sea, I said yes.
One month later, I flew back to Chicago, and 36 hours after that I got another plane headed to Guatemala City.  As hard as I tried to soothe the knot in my chest, it just wouldn’t go away.  The voices in my head were saying What if everything goes wrong?  What if you run out of money?  What if you get stranded in Guatemala, knowing only three phrases in Spanish?  I suppose the jet lag and sleep deprivation didnt help any, either.
Its funny how easily we can be overwhelmed by anxiety, how often we can feel not enough. We dont have enough money.  We cant possibly make it.  These voices in our head keep us tied down.  They keep us inside our comfort zone.  They hinder us from exploring and learning and adventuring and growing. 
But I didnt know before that these voices arent true.
I didnt know before that Im braver than I think I am. 
I didnt know before that I am enough. 
It’s funny how these few little words can get in the way so often.  If you, too, are believing the un-truth, I want you to know that you are braver than you think you are. You, too, will find a way.  

You are enough. 

Becca Nelson is a music teacher who recently left Chicago behind for the mountains of western Guatemala. Her current hobbies include squeezing into tiny over-crowded buses, painting, writing, and smiling and nodding when other people speak Spanish much too quickly. She writes at For Want of Wonder (link to forwantofwonder.com) where she is hosting a blogging series called Life Experiments.  You can also follow her on twitter @beccaliz.  

3 comments:

  1. Yes! So good! Thanks so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you for sharing with my blog and readers, Becca!

    ReplyDelete

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