​I've been thinking over my vision stand more and I've realized that it wasn't really tailored to me. I wrote things I thought I should want, things I though anyone would need to get out of a gap year. But in writing that vision stand, I never thought about me; I never thought about where my strengths and weaknesses are, about what I'm capable of, what I like about myself, and what I have yet to learn. I wrote things like learning how to be alone and how to entertain myself. But these are not what's hard for me.

My vision stand is far from complete, and I think it won't really have much on it at any point this year. What I want from this year, what I need from this year, is to know myself better. All this new found time and independence in the past two months has started that process, but there's a long way to go. I can't make real goals until I know who I am, and I don't think I'm going to be close to that for a long time. I can make goals now, but they would be based on what I think I should want, not what I necessarily do.

I know one of my goals is to create relationships with people around me, but I don't know what that may look like. When I wrote that goal, I imagined myself constantly with others, a social butterfly. But I'm not sure where I got the idea that moving away would immediately turn me into someone I'm not: someone confident, outgoing, and energetic. I realized pretty quickly in my host community that I am not that person, not in Portland and not in Otavalo. But it took me longer to realize that not every part of that is a character flaw. I can be quieter and content alone, and that isn't something I necessarily need to work on. I've spent a lot of time thinking that it's bad when I'm happier at home than out with big groups, but it's worse to try to be someone I'm not.

I'm all for pushing myself – I wouldn't be here if that weren't true, but the biggest change that happens in these next six months may not be accomplishing big outward goals, but simply knowing what those goals are.