Taking Off

I hate saying “goodbye.” It’s the last thing you have to do once all the travel arrangements are made, the bags are packed, and you’re finally on your way. To me, “goodbye” is something you say when you’re unsure of the next time you’ll see a person or place. Simply thinking of saying “goodbye” has the ability to send one into an anxious spiral of self-doubt. It’s hard not to be nervous when you have to utter this phrase to those you love as you embark on an adventure in unchartered territory.

I’m certainly going into uncharted territory this spring as I prepare to study abroad in Florence, Italy. Although I’ve long been enamored with the idea of spending days walking around the piazza and getting lost in different gelato shops, it’s difficult to block out the voice of worry that speaks now and then. My daydreams of getting lost in Italy suddenly turn into nightmarish images of me actually getting lost in Italy with no cellular data to guide me home.

In order to calm pre-departure nerves I remind myself that I’m not saying “goodbye” forever. I’m one of those lucky enough to live in a foreign country for four months and have incredible experiences that will give me lifelong memories. I will grow as a person and learn things about myself. I will adapt and thrive in a new culture. And, yes, I will probably get lost a few times but that’ll be part of what makes this experience fun.

I’m confident that I’ll return home with stories to tell and pictures to show. As I begin my study abroad journey I won’t focus on those that I temporarily have to leave behind, but on the new adventures that are to come.

So, it’s not’s a “goodbye forever” but rather a “ciao, for now.”