Atlas Hands

“I’ve got a plan,
I’ve got an atlas in my hands,
I’m gonna turn,
When I listen to the lessons that I’ve learned”

– Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Atlas Hands

In the past two months I’ve graduated from university, traveled to my last state in the U.S., and flown across the world. All of these things are incredibly momentous occasions. It’s sometimes baffling to think about how I did all of these without a minor breakdown. They’re all scary things – an end to 4 amazing years, a finality in seeing every state with my family, and an adventure into entirely foreign, unchartered territory. Yet I feel as though I handled all of them with a sense of ease.

But now here I am sitting on my flight from Singapore to London scared as hell. It’s hard to explain this feeling. It’s a mixture of missing the home I’ve been away from for a month, my friends living their lives, fear of the unknown, and a strange feeling of being alone.

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New doorways can be scary to enter, but what’s on the other side makes it worth the risk.

All of our young lives many of us have a hand to hold. Whether it’s our dads holding the bicycle as we attempt our first time without training wheels, or our moms attending sports meetings in high school, and then move-in day to college, a lot of us are lucky to have someone there to see us through every new obstacle. And now here I am venturing into a crazy world all alone.

As I enter this new stage of adventure and a sense of adulthood hits, I can feel a change happening inside me. These lessons that I’ve learned along the way, whether through school, my parents, or my own blunders, have helped me grow and helped prepare me to set off on my own.

A lot of people have questioned how I’m doing this. Even the customs agent in London was a bit baffled. “How do you travel with just one backpack? You don’t have a plan?” Well, my plan is as simple as this – I’ll go where the wind takes me.

Throughout all of this fear and loneliness, there’s an overwhelming sense of excitement. What better time to travel alone? I’m at such a big crossroads in my life, and have so much more to discover about myself. Being on the road can teach you so much about who you are, how you view the world, and can open your eyes to so much more. These lessons simply can’t be taught in a classroom. I’m an avid reader, and one of my favorite quotes ties reading and travel perfectly together – “the world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.”

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For those of you who are following along, here’s the beginning of a new chapter in my life, new travels, and countless discoveries. I hope you enjoy, it’s sure to have many ups and downs, twists, and crazy turns.

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