If you’ve chatted with me in the last couple of months, or perhaps had a chance to read to the very end of my earlier (and lengthy) post on turning twenty-four, then you surely know about my upcoming trip overseas at the end of August, and how excited and anxious I am about it! What you might not know, though, is that it’s my first time leaving the country on this scale.
[I guess I should be fully transparent — this is technically not my first time out of the country. I have gone to Baja California, Mexico on three separate occasions. But as someone who grew up in San Diego (a mere 49 miles, or 54 minutes, from the Mexican border) I’m not so sure that it truly counts — at least not really to me due to its proximity. For that reason, I’ve decided to elect this next trip as my first *true* experience out of the country, complete with a handful of transatlantic and international flights.]
Traveling has been something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember, probably as a result of growing up watching cheesy (but no-less charming) movies like Holiday in the Sun (ah, Mary-Kate and Ashley ♥), Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Monte Carlo. So, why, you might ask, did it take me so long to get up and go? I’m not so sure my answer makes sense to everyone, but I’ll attempt to give it a quick go.
My parents were amazing growing up, planning domestic trips that my sister and I would always cherish. We traveled to Hawaii more times than I can count, took a long trip to Disney World in Florida when I was two or three, and spent Easter and my sister’s birthday in New York City around the time I was in first grade. More often than not, I look back fondly on these trips with pictures, not through my direct memories (though that doesn’t make them any less special). And because of this, I understand how much consideration went into planning travels for the fam during those early years. I’m sure my parents weighed the fact that these experiences wouldn’t entirely exist in my sister’s and my minds, and that they also wouldn’t be candidly reflected in how we grew up. There was no immediate need for our family to travel internationally and to invest in something of that degree (which is likely the case with a lot of young families, not just ours).
Fast-forward eighteen years and still the furthest I had gone was to Hawaii and New York. Again, I understood the reluctance to trek out of the country. My mom and dad had managed to raise two daughters within two years of each other who were both expected to go to a four-year university after high school. My sister and I, blessed as we were, had the wonderful privilege of having parents that supported their daughters’ educations out of their own pockets, allowing us to dodge the post-college stress of student loans. Our schooling and careers were important to them, so that’s what they invested their time and money into when they could spare it. And in turn, these things became important to my sister and me, too.
That’s why when I got offered my *then* dream job during my junior year at Loyola Marymount, I chose to pursue that over taking a semester studying abroad with my friends and classmates. And even though I’m no longer in the event industry, I don’t regret taking that particular position in lieu of traveling because I knew that someday I’d have a chance to jet off on my own terms, and I understood how that job would lay some essential groundwork for success in my future.
So, I guess there’s the answer to why it’s taken so long for me to go, which, like most things in my life, I made far more complicated than I needed to. It ultimately came down to timing and, more decisively, the expense of it all versus the available resources. But regardless, I don’t think I’d have had it any other way, seeing how my life has unfolded thus far.
With that, here I am — a little more than two weeks out from my big adventure. I’m not so sure it will fully hit me until I’m all settled into my flight to Reykjavik, probably with something nostalgic like Holiday in the Sun or Monte Carlo pulled up on Netflix. But the anticipation of what I will feel, of how I will change and grow and learn from everything, it’s hard to ignore in this exact moment.
It may sound like a load of crap, but I honestly feel like there’s a little part of me that I haven’t even tapped into yet, and this experience is going to finally unveil it. Or maybe it’s a huge part of me; maybe it is who I am completely. Maybe I’ve been neglecting a version of Marissa I was fated all this time to embrace. And yeah, maybe that sounds like complete BS, but how am I supposed to know otherwise?
Until my return in September, I guess we won’t really know. What I do know, is that I’ve got a looong two weeks of anticipation ahead. Bear with me as I get my mind (and everything else going on in life) straightened out . . . and look out for another post as I prepare to leave, and more while I’m gone!
Let the countdown begin!