On the Edge of Adventure

Sophia Miller - Senegal


August 30, 2019

If you were to walk through the Miller-Hermans house this week, you would find little piles everywhere. Boxes of tea and crackers in the kitchen, crucial  documents in the office, and clothes stacked in the guest bedroom all waiting to be neatly shoved into a beat-up suitcase.

  But packing for the unknown is difficult. How many t-shirts is too many? Do I bring eight months of shampoo? Can I buy earl grey in-country? What about yada, yada, yada..? The questions running through my mind are endless. 

    Aside from the packing anxiety, my mind is racked with doubt and the constant questioning of my decision to take a bridge year, not to mention the extent of my readiness to venture into the world. 

    My entire childhood parallelled that of my older brother. He enrolled in Honors and AP classes, so I marched into the counselors office and signed myself up. He played soccer at the varsity level, so I attempted tennis (but it was quite a poor attempt, for the record). He applied to a myriad of universities, so I followed suit. Justin’s lead guided me toward the traditional path: study, succeed, go to university, and repeat. 

    As deadlines grew near, I chalked my thoughts of doubt up to normal post-high-school jitters. “Everyone must feel this way, right?” As I searched for reassurance in my college-bound friends, I was met with confusion. “What? You don’t want to go to school?” I would quickly back track, “No, no, I do.. just maybe not yet.”

    This is where Global Citizen Year’s serendipitous ad on Instagram fell into place: transforming my wayward reveries into tangible plans. 

    So, less than six-months later, I’m sat on the cusp of a grand adventure. In less than a week, I will be boarded onto a plane headed across the continental U. S., the Atlantic Ocean, and all the way to the very western coast of Africa. 

As a chronic over thinker, the process of preparation has not been easy. From selecting the right Malaria Prophylaxis, to deciding what the phrase “bare essentials” actually means, I’ve often questioned whether this was the correct path at all. 

As the calendar begins to melt away, and my bag fills to the point of bursting, my thoughts have rested on this: The future can never be certain, and that’s okay. The point of an adventure isn’t to follow an itinerary, or have a preconceived fabrication of what the experience should be. To go on an adventure is to leave the familiar, to abandon the assumed, and to redefine the very world in which you live. 

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On the edge of adventure: Senegal, Boulder, Baylor bound.

Sophia Miller