And my journey begins…


Several hours before my flight my plan felt surreal. I went through the motions of packing and saying goodbyes, but I wondered when and how reality would hit me.

I thought the day would be a tearful struggle, but I was calm. I cried when I said goodbye to my brother Evan, and I choked up when my best friend Olivia sent me a text. It read, “Just remember you’re not alone. Everyone is always thinking of you.” But then I saw the rest of the message, “and if you feel lonely then get the **** out of your comfort zone and make new friends!” and I laughed.

This week I was reminded how quickly something unexpected could change your mindset. One week, so short but so capable of influencing your life.

I look at the calendar and count the 18 weeks ahead of me. Will they all be as intense? If I have 18 life-changing weeks, will I return a completely different person? I’m struggling with the answers, but I’m embracing the unplanned route this journey has in store for me. That’s the beauty of this year. It’s malleable and I don’t have full control of it – just like life.

I am in awe at the size of the support network that formed for me. During the last week I received over a hundred emails and phone calls full of love and encouragement. Family and friends gave me cards and made me CDs, which I opened and listened to during my flight from New York to Qatar. This made me feel safe and loved, and I can’t thank all of you enough.

I’m spending the night in the Doha airport, and I’ll be in Vietnam by Monday. When I stepped off the plane reality sunk in. I realized that to be happy for the next year I needed to make the entire world my comfort zone. I walked to the nearest coffee shop, sat down, and introduced my self to a family of women from Bahrain. After an hour of chatting about our lives, I thought: This feels right. I’m supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be doing this. And I’m not looking back!


6 comments on “And my journey begins…

  1. Julian Cabrera says:

    No turning back now! 🙂 I’m so so excited for you.

  2. Olivia Richman says:

    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where you’ll go. Oh the places you’ll go.
    – Dr Seuss

  3. Carmen says:

    ok, i cannot walk into work on a monday morning, ready to attack my “To Do” list and instead open up your email and start crying. Either i wait until a meloncholy sunday afternoon to read them or intersperse some humor so my tears dry. Remember, alone does not mean lonely and every single person in the world can teach you something….all you have to do is ask.
    can’t wait for the next blog….the highlight of my day!! go for it!

    • batesla says:

      No tears!!! I didn’t even have tears when I left!!! ok next post I promise will be funny. Look how good I’m doing already: I made friends with those 3 women from Bahrain, THEN I met 3 awesome people from Barcelona!!!!, and I talked to this woman from Vietnam on the plane and she gave me tons of suggestions. :)!! I’m sure I’ll talk to you on BBM soon.xoxoxo

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