A Bit of a Walkabout Is All

Ellie Van Gorden - Senegal


August 26, 2018

18.

That’s how many hours I have left until I leave.

Leaving for what? Oh, just a bit of a walkabout is all.

*In Australia, a walkabout is a rite of passage into manhood
for Aboriginal boys. Now obviously I am neither a boy, nor Aboriginal…but I use
this term as a way to describe my journey for personal growth throughout my 8 months in Senegal.*

~

If someone were to tell me a year
ago that I was leaving tomorrow morning for a gap year in Senegal, I would
simply reply with, “Yeah ok…right…sure”, followed by a thoroughly sarcastic eye
roll and cackle.

But I am.

On Sunday, August 26th at 6am, I will fly out of
Kansas City, and I won’t be back until late April. This reality elicits many
emotions and reactions. Excitement, stress, sadness, curiosity, sadness and worry
to name a few. I’m torn emotionally, as you can see. I’m leaving loved ones
behind, but a new group of friends awaits me. I’m leaving the simple comfort
that unlimited connection to the outside world brings, but the peace and
retrospect that accompanies existing sans social media is more appealing. I
fear that a language barrier is going to be a great problem, but I’m looking
forward to communicating in other ways. Losing the consistency in my workout
routine strikes fear into my Crossfit addicted heart, but a little rest time
never hurt nobody.

I’m going to have to establish new pastimes. Reading is
going to become essential, and I might finally learn how to art. The possibilities
are endless.

Although I’m aware of this, and have ideas in mind, I am
nervous about becoming stationary and hobby-less.

I sense a grand shift in my outlook on life. I feel as if I’m
currently floating. Little responsibility, and the freedom to roam. My attitude
and positivity tend to fluctuate. I am hoping that this experience will help
balance my thoughts. I have so much drive, but am working on few goals
currently. I’m in the dark when it comes to exactly what my day to day will
look like−and that’s okay. Learning to accept the uncertainty and discomfort is
all part of this process.

I’m excited to dive into the details of myself. I recognize and am extremely grateful that I am one of those few people who can write about themselves, but at the
same time, I tend to keep things on a large-scale. Keeping a daily diary is
going to prove quite difficult for me. Recounting exact moments and thoughts is
challenging when you have such a broad view all the time.

As I complete my final packing and mentally prepare myself to wake up around 4am, I reflect on my life here, and await the new life that lies ahead. 

~

I will be uploading a blog once a week with highlights from
each day, and look forward to writing my next update!

 

Ellie Van Gorden