Walking Away to Discover Something New

Alec Yeh - Senegal


October 2, 2009

I just finished packing for Senegal. I can’t believe it. In three hours, I will be at the airport, waiting for my flight to DC, then my flight to Senegal. In 24 hours, I will be in a different country, a different continent; across the Atlantic Ocean. I never actually thought this day would come, you know? This idea of a gap year, was simply an idea. I said I would do it. I was all talk, but never did I think I would walk the walk.

Goodbyes are always hard. I said goodbye to Abby, the CEO and two of her assistants, Wil and Graham. Abby was tearing up. Abby is an amazing person. I really can’t express that enough. She’s going to change the world. And tomorrow, her social impact begins. Wil and Graham are great guys. And their future is something I’m curious to follow. I know their futures will be big.

And now, I sit here, all packed. Everybody is out in the hall, frantic. Some swearing here and there. Saying goodbye will be difficult, since only half of them will be gone. It’s weird to have bonded with your comrades, and then all of a sudden be apart for seven months. We were all put into this group as one organization, and now I feel like we’re fragmenting. First into two, and eventually, all of us will be in our own host families and jobs. I’m afraid our dynamic will change, but that will inevitably happen. Perhaps for the worse, perhaps for the better. That question is left to be answered.

So I wonder, who will I become by the end of this trip? When most challenged, when thrust into an unknown situation, who will I transform into? What will I discover about myself that I didn’t know before? What will I look like in seven months? Those questions will be answered in seven months time.

Alec Yeh