I may have procrastinated this blog, as it was technically due last night; admittedly not the best start. Though, until this moment I did not start reflecting on what leaving meant to me. I am currently an hour and ten minutes away from Dakar, soaring above a group of islands I have never heard about. As many of my subscribers know, I am skillfully able to sleep in a diverse range of locations, specializing in cars and planes. So, after a seven-hour nap, needed after our hectic day of travel*, now seems like an opportune moment to catch-up.
I have not had a quiet moment since arriving in San Francisco a week ago and therefore writing a blog about Global Launch felt impossible. Global Launch was loud and chaotic. With 150 young adults stuffed into dorms at Stanford’s annoyingly nice campus and instructed to bond over the course of a week. My days from waking up at 7am to passing out at 12am required ample amounts of attention and energy. There were not many opportunities to isolate yourself, even if you tried the cheers and laughter heard through the thin Stanford walls would draw you out of your room during the little free time we had. For a week we were booked, if not in a lecture we were feasting at the buffet or jumping around different adventures with varying fellow Fellows. While the emphasis on introspection and meditation are not my forte, Global Citizen’s planned activities sparked a level of mutual honesty and vulnerability. I am learning that leaving is an all-encompassing experience.
Though right now it is quiet, I was lucky enough to get a window seat, and will spend the remaining time of this flight listening to Daniel Caesar and watching the sun rise. There is a degree of isolation needed for reflection, and I am having a growing feeling this thought will be a common theme this year.
Even in just a week of isolation from my home in Florida, things that previously mattered seem to have melted away. Netflix, social media, high school, drama, have stepped away from my mind, which speaks to their importance. Even the things that fill my life- family, close friends, accumulated preferences, aspects of my identity- have muted. The fading started after the two hour and then subsequent five-hour flights to San Francisco.
I can only imagine the impact an additional 13 hours of flying to Senegal will have.
While isolation gives the opportunity to evaluate aspects of life, it has become something I am dreading. My eight months of isolation will be filled with unfamiliar challenges, a new abundance of boredom, and loneliness. I almost dropped out of the gap year, because I was convinced this experience would be putting my life on hold. Though a week into stepping away from my “life”, I now realize how ridiculous that notion was, because there is no pausing life, life happens infinitely. Global Launch did not feel like a detour from living, it simply added an experience of meeting an interesting diversity of people and endless soft serve. This gap year will be just another chapter to my story, one where I will shift focus and direction for the rest of the novel. Therefore, on this gap year I need to welcome reassessment and embrace my isolation.
*Our hectic day of traveling included:
Being awake from 7am till 6am, two broken escalators, a rerouted air train that eventually required us to get off and wait for another one, being trapped behind the Ecuador cohort at ticketing, eventually getting to security 10 minutes after boarding began, getting pulled over by security for my carry-on, running to the gate, four people did not make the flight to JFK, 13 hours of flying, forgetting to take my malaria pill, a confusing Victoria’s Secret passport holder
But we made it!
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