Warning: The use statement with non-compound name 'KWSContactList' has no effect in /home/travel/public_html/wp-content/plugins/constant-contact-api/admin/campaigns.php on line 2
2011 is here! Welcome to Paradise. | Travels With Carly

2011 is here! Welcome to Paradise.

Scuba dive buddies and dive masters from PADI open water certification day.

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve I was cruising home on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. My favorite radio station played the Green Day classic, Welcome to Paradise, and I laughed out loud (and yes I get that the song is dark, but the title is the perfect intention for what is to come). Seems fate wanted to assure me that I made the right decision  to island hop through the South Pacific in the latter half of 2011.

But after I finished laughing, I started to panic. OMG – only 5 months left to get ready. My mind fixated on all of the things I haven’t done which I consider critical for my trip. I haven’t started Krav Maga training. I haven’t started French lessons. I haven’t taken a wilderness first aid course. I haven’t. I haven’t. I haven’t. I am very good at focusing on the things left in my to do list and truly terrible at celebrating what I’ve accomplished so far. So instead of dwelling on the things I haven’t done, I am going to remind myself of what I HAVE accomplished in 2010.

First and most importantly, I resolved to go around the world and I am actually going to do it. It sounds like such a simple thing, but really, the decision to leave my home, my friends and my family to travel by myself was a difficult one. Will I get lonely? Will I get hurt? Will I find a job when I get back? There are lots of logical reasons why I shouldn’t go, but I’ve had this dream since I was 17 and I am far more afraid of not taking the chance than all of the unknowns combined. And just to make sure I didn’t chicken out, I told my friends and my family about my plans. Nothing holds you accountable like a dream shared with those you love.

Second, I got my motorcycle license in July, fulfilling yet another dream I’ve had for over 20 years. When I was growing up, the Ohio DMV held beginner motorcycle training every Saturday morning in the high school parking lot. I drove past those brave souls trying to do figure 8s in first gear, and I thought that was the coolest form of transportation I’d ever seen. And just a little bit bad ass. Two decades later I was one of those students doing figure 8s in the DMV parking lot. A little hint. It is MUCH easier to do figure 8s in second gear rather than first. Gives you a smoother ride.

Third, and this is the biggie, I survived scuba diving lessons without drowning and earned my open water PADI certification in August. I consider this my biggest accomplishment simply because it brought up fears I didn’t know I had. I grew up on a lake and am not afraid of water. Nor am I claustrophobic. But the first time I went under the water in full scuba gear I thought I was going to drown right then and there.

I am very proud that I didn’t give up. I battled through countless panic attacks under water. I kept going back to class even when my brain said that was the stupidest thing I could possibly do. I willingly put myself into incredibly uncomfortable situations, and just when it looked like I would bail and shoot to the surface, I reminded myself to breathe. When all else fails, and you don’t know what to do, just breathe.

Looking back on it, 2010 was a pretty good year. I accomplished more than I give myself credit for. My trip around the world has already led me to new friends and new experiences, all without setting foot outside the U.S.A. Flights, freighters and motorcycles here I come! 2011 is finally here. Welcome to paradise.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment