Today, June 23, 2019, the day before I leave, I find myself rushing around in a panic tying up every loose end I can think of. This is not to say that I have not prepared myself adequately. There is just the matter of those that depend upon me for care: my cat and my plants. I have to take the cat to my friend’s apartment. I’ll need to bring his food, his litter, his toys, a blanket. I’ll miss his company, his quiet affection, his plaintive mews. He’s a silly little creature, but he brings me comfort when I am anxious, something I expect to yearn for while away. Knowing he is in the care of a kind friend will alleviate my nerves some. Beyond that, I’ve been writing a guide for my forty-odd house plants so that my girlfriend can care for them in my absence. They bring me joy and make the cold walls of my home feel alive. I’d be distraught to return and find them dead or ailing. I am confident that she will care for them as long as she has thorough instructions for doing so.
This past Friday, I had my friends over for pizza and beer. They were kind enough to give me some parting gifts and well-wishes. I’ll miss them. And I hope that they will take it upon themselves to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday with her on the thirtieth, an event I am sorry to miss. All this might make it seem as if I am loathe to leave, but that is not the case. I am no stranger to the adventures of travel. Since I was old enough to do so, I have been taking off in my van to the Ocala National Forest, Okefenokee Swamp, Savannah, GA, the commune hostel in Brunswick, the Blue Ridge Parkway, sometimes with a companion, but sometimes alone. This is something different though. I have never left the continent or gone so far away for so long. This trip promises new experiences I could get nowhere else. And it promises to deliver what Iso often search for in my travels, the richness of history.
I could not pass up such a unique experience. As a college student slightly older than average, I had accepted missing out on the traditional college experience. I have to work for a living and pay my own bills, rent, school expenses. A study abroad opportunity always seemed unattainable. But early this year, when I heard about the Medieval Pilgrimage program, I endeavored to learn more about it, just to see. At the same time, I applied for a summer internship at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. If one falls through, I’ll pursue the other, I reasoned.
I never imagined that both possibilities would come together for me. At that point though, I’d already applied to go to Spain, and upon discovering that I was obligated to pay the full sum for the trip, my decision was made for me. There are worse obligations than a trip to Spain, certainly, but I still worried about money. Iwent to my mother and father and asked their assistance. They awarded me an early graduation gift to pay for the flight and trip fee. I am eternally grateful for that. Since then, I have been financially and emotionally preparing to depart. Tomorrow begins the test of my preparation!