13 May, 2009

The Beginning Before the Beginning

I awoke this morning to the sound of treacherous thunderclaps bellowing outside my window; I couldn’t help thinking it was some sort of ominous sign. Then, as if meant to be, the clouds parted and the sun shone just as we were getting in the car to go to the airport. Maybe that was nature’s way of telling me to relinquish my trepidation and embrace the possibilities of the coming 6 weeks.

I don’t know where I’m sleeping tonight. As in I literally don’t know what state/city/location I will occupy at the day’s end. Will it be Birmingham, Talladega, Memphis? All I can say for sure is that I will be sheltered by a millimeter thick tent sandwiched between Sean and Andy.

I feel that attempts to mentally prepare myself for this may turn out to be futile. The most I can do is keep reminding myself how incredibly amazing this is going to be. In a little more than one month’s time I am going to see and do countless magnificent and inspiring things. Although this flight I am on right now is technically the first leg of the journey, I can’t help but feel that it is yet to begin. It won’t be real until we meet up with Sean and get into the car.

As of this past Friday I am officially a college graduate marking the culmination of my entire life up to this point. Every so often I start thinking about the sheer enormity of this and I become overwhelmed with feelings of happiness, satisfaction, pride, relief, sadness, anxiety, nostalgia…but for the most part I don’t feel any different than I did last week – which is surprising considering how many times I’ve been asked “how does it feel now that you’re a college graduate?” I would have expected to be in a constant state of emotional overdrive. Of course, I’m sure the knowledge that I will be returning to school as usual come August as a graduate student probably takes the edge off.

At any rate, today we are embarking on, as Andy so eloquently put it, “a road trip of the 21st century”. In traditional American fashion, three 20 somethings fresh out of college are setting out to experience the vast expanse of the United States. Starting in Atlanta, through Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, over to Arizona, up through Utah to Wyoming, across the desert of Nevada to California, up to Oregon, all the way down through California, then back across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and back down to the sticky summer heat of Florida. In addition to all the long-established road trip essentials we also have the latest gadgets necessitated by this technological age, including but not limited to, laptops, internet access, GPS devices, video camera, I Pods, cell phones, etc., etc., etc.

As we begin our descent into Atlanta I find myself excited at the prospect of the unexpected. I will visit more places and see more things during this trip alone than I have throughout my entire life. I’m sure it won’t always be smooth sailing, but I’m going to try and be OPTIMISTIC, despite the fact that Sean seems to think that’s an impossibility. Roll with the punches, go with the flow, take it as it comes. I’m just trying to live, and I’ll be doing a lot of living on this trip.

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