It finally feels real. I’ve gone shopping for the trip and paid for it, but it didn’t really hit me until today. I’m going to Portugal. Alone. By myself. Without my family or friends. Yikes.

Last night, my study abroad group of 23 students had a Zoom call with our TA and faculty member leading the trip. We all chatted about the specifics of the trip for about an hour, and in this hour, it finally hit me. All the nerves and anxiety entered at once and left me feeling… scared? Of course, having the opportunity to go across the world for 3 weeks with one of my favorite professors to a country I have never been before is an amazing one. Yet, I still can’t seem to shake off the fears and trade them in for excitement.

So what am I so anxious about? I have to pack everything I might need for 3 weeks into a suitcase small enough that I could carry it up multiple flights of stairs if needed. I’m someone who packs the same suitcase for a weekend trip. I’m sure you can imagine the concerns I’m having on that front. Then, I will be traveling by myself for the first time. I’ve barely navigated my local airport alone, much less one on another continent. I’ll be taking a total of 3 planes to get to Porto: one from Nashville to Detroit, one from Detroit to Amsterdam, and one from Amsterdam to Porto. What does this mean for me? It means I have to navigate 4 unfamiliar international airports by myself. For reference, I am someone who forgets to put laundry detergent in my laundry or forgets to turn my homework in after I finish it. I feel like I am the least equipped person on the planet to be trusted with tasks such as these.

I have 3 weeks remaining until my trip and quite a lot that needs to be done before then, as you can tell. Please send your best wishes and thoughts my direction as I try to pack and prepare for my travels.