or in short
she felt a strong desire to pursue her passion , and felt as if this was the way to realize it.
her decision made me start reflecting when I have wandered into the unknown, and how thankful I am for having done so.
My unknown journey's have taken parts at different stages of my life, and each one has taught me a valuable life lesson.
The first starts when I was 18 years old. I wanted to move to Guatemala the birth place of my parents. I had this strong desire to get in touch with my large family that still lives there. I was certain at the time this was how I was going to do it.
For three months I would move away from the U.S, and live daily life in a third would country, relying on family I've only seen sparingly throughout my life.
My parents agreed after some coercion, and soon after graduating High school I got on a plane and took my first journey into the unknown.
I wondered what my life would be like, I wouldn't have a car, I wouldn't have a job, I wouldn't have any of my close friends, I wouldn't be able to communicate as efficiently as I do in English. Basically everything I was accustomed to would be stripped away (how exciting & terrifying!)
I just thought to myself " I'll figure it out as I go".
I got to Guatemala and in those three months I had experiences that have changed me to this day.
Here is one such experience....
The Camioneta incident
Public transport is a necessity for those who reside in Guatemala city, everything moves by camioneta (bus in Spanish). My family used it daily to get around for business or transport. The camionetas are cheap, but in some cases dangerous as well. They're often commandeered by assailants looking to take hard working peoples money/lives.
When I arrived in Guatemala my family sheltered me and didn't want me to stray to far on my own (but I was 18, the rebellious American teenager was bound to come out sooner or later). Once I got familiar with the camioneta system , I was determined to set out on my own.
The first time was the biggest learning experience.
I had to alter the truth a little to my aunt(whom I was living with), and told her I was taking the camioneta accompanied by a cousin ( they didn't want me navigating the buses without family). After saying bye I waited alone at the camioneta stop trying to look like a regular daily passenger.
I got on the first camioneta of my trip (the route included two buses) and was off, all I needed to do now was catch one more to get to my final destination.
Well after getting off the correct bus, I got on camioneta # 2, what I didn't realize is.... it was the wrong bus!
I didn't notice it until I got to a part of the city I didn't recognize! I began to look around nervously, I didn't have the slightest clue where I was, or how to get back. I didn't have a family member to ask, nor did I have phone to try and call someone...I really screwed up!
I froze up and thought I could just ride it out. I stayed on the bus, one by one people got off, and the camioneta began to empty. Before I knew it I was the last one on the bus. The bus driver said "Ultima Parada" ( "last bus stop"), here I was in a area of the city completely unfamiliar. I was scared, and nervous, but overall just determined to get back on the right path.
I thought for a second once the panic subsided, and asked the bus driver where I needed to get to. He looked at me for a second, and then told me where I had went wrong. He informed me how to get back to get to the correct camioneta.
An extra ride, and some extra quetzales (Guatemalan currency) later I got to my final destination. I was relieved I got through it, and I had learned a lesson
Lesson Learned: when you don't know something don't be afraid to ask!
There were more experiences that took part in Guatemala but for now we'll move onto the next journey into the unknown
The Air Force
after coming back from Guatemala I was still unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't want to commit to school, because I had no Idea what it was I wanted to study. Having previously talked to a military recruiter I re-initiated the talks and before I knew it I was off into unknown journey number two.
Being tested...Numerous times!
Once I left Rhode Island for basic training I was sent to Texas. I arrived at the San Antonio airport late at night for basic training, and was a bit tired (*O how I was about to understand what exhaustion really is*)
We were shuttled away from the airport, and taken to the next 6 weeks of physical/mental testing. Basic training lived up to every single word that had been mentioned to me. The first few hours were hell. Being somewhere unfamiliar with people you don't know, and being yelled at from all directions.
The unknown was a shitty place this time around, this time I wasn't afraid, I was more pissed for getting myself into this. However being a person that doesn't like to quit, I pressed on. Getting used to constant shittiness is well pretty much ...shitty.
Six weeks later and 15 lbs lighter I had completed boot camp, I got to see my family for a day or two and then it was off to 3 months of Military police training. This training was an extension of boot camp life, and was a bit less stressful. Three months later I completed my training. I had journeyed into the unknown once again, and once again I had come out wiser on the other side.
Lesson Learned: When you think you can't go any further, search deep within, you're stronger than you believe!
After my training was completed I was handed orders, these orders found me stationed in Germany. Being young, financially stable, and living in country where the drinking age is 18 has its perks, but nothing in this life is given without some sort of getting back.
My first few months in Germany were a blast, however being in the situation the US is in, I knew my time was imminent before I headed to the Middle East.
A few months into my European life I was informed I would be heading to the desert.
I won't detail to much about this experience, but suffice it to say there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can train you, ready you, for the fear of being in a foreign part of the world, where what has been portrayed to you comes from the media, and where there is an active war going on, and you find yourself as part of the opposing team.
Being 19 arriving in a country that seems barren and hostile is about as fearful as fearful gets. I spent 6 months in this part of the world, and once the initial fear subsided I had a great time.
I had some very unique life changing experiences. this time around I learned....
Lesson Learned: the world is not what is portrayed on your TV,people are not always what they may appear, sometimes you have to confront fear head on!
Having lived through these experiences and many more I now find myself comfortable, or as comfortable as one can be when being confronted with the unknown.
We're a people with many luxuries nowadays we like to be comfortable, to stick with what is known, and leave it that way.
I for one am not one of those people. Each one of my experiences has taught me a valuable lesson, or given light to a piece of my character I was once unaware of.
The Unknown can seem scary, and sometimes it is, however the unknown is a place where who you thought you weren't, can be who you become (in a good way).
It will test you, it will try and run you off, but if you stand your ground, and persevere
You will be a wiser, and stronger person!