No Turning Back

Elizabeth Ollila - Ecuador


August 14, 2017

If you had told me a year ago that I would be leaving to live in Ecuador in less than two weeks instead of going college I would have probably laughed. Not because I was shocked or disappointed, but because I never thought that I would actually have the guts to take a year to travel alone.

But here I am. Two weeks from leaving and equally as nervous as I am excited. How is it that I am going to be leaving everything I know behind–my family, my friends, my town, my country, the normal path to college? I struggle to share my thoughts because I am feelings every single emotion possible. Some days I deem myself entirely insane while other days I wish I was already there.

Today, I sit here writing with no idea of where in Ecuador my home will be, who my family will be, who my new friends will be, or what my job will be. But, as my ever-so-wise mother has always said “embrace the unknown,” so that is exactly what I am trying to do.

The reaction from people when I tell them what I am doing this year seems to follow a pattern. First I get the “Wow!! That’s so cool!!” then I get the “What are you going to do there?” (an answer of which I will have for you all in just a few weeks), and then I get the “WHY??” and I have to tell you that question sometimes stumps me. I want to answer “because I need to,” but I understand that there is very little substance to that, so I am going to do my best to explain. I have a need to get out of the normal track of teenagers where one school follows the next and success is defined by grades and learning happens in a cement building. I have a need to prove to myself that I can do this, and I need to see the world. I need to understand other cultures and languages, and I need to escape a bubble that I have grown up in. I have a need to learn other languages because I know that it will open up a new world for me.

My parents put a “bug” in me when they made us pick up and move to Australia when I was 11, and since then I have not been able to shake it. That adventure taught me so much about myself, my county, and the world; now it is time for me to take on a similar adventure alone.

Thank you all for your help in getting me here, and for following my adventure 🙂

(Also, if you instagram you can follow my pictures of the year at @eo.in.ecuador, but they will also show up on here!)

Con amor,

Elizabeth


Elizabeth Ollila