Pain Into Promise

There’s something quite soothing about Athens. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe I’m actually settling into myself post Starbucks. Maybe it’s the sun. Maybe the air here breathes new life into everyone who needs it. Whatever it is, I’ll take it, open hearted.

The variations of streets, from wide, straight and noisy to narrow, windy and quiet. I’m not sure if I could ever actually get lost, with each new corner comes whispers of beauty, new secrets for me to find. Finding new ways only the stray cats care to roam. Occasionally someone tires to speak to me but I move on, the wind gently guiding me to new, unknown destinations. There is a simplicity in the complexity. The buildings whispered that there has been so much that has come before. So many struggles and hardships, beauty and happiness. The promise of taking whatever has come before and soothing it into acceptance and strength. The knowledge that with great power comes great responsibility. The ability to take pain and turn it into promise.

Fear; an Intro

I type in “Fear Quotes” on Pinterest and one of the first quotes that pops up goes a little something like this; “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” I smile knowingly, glance up briefly from my iPad and shake my head.

The edge of fear is standing on a cliff, miles in the air and the knot in my stomach at the knowledge that I have to jump off. The knot rises in my troat as I get closer to the edge. No matter how many times I tell myself that the path at the bottom of the cliff will be far better than anything I’ve just experienced doesn’t erase the comfort I feel with two feet on the ground. I think I can handle the heartache and pain I’ll go through if I stay because I know what to expect. Yes, heartache and pain will be there at the bottom but they, I, will be different. As long as I jump.

Just over two months. The amount of time I’ll be jumping. There have been moments over the past year and a half where I thought I wouldn’t be able to make the leap. ┬áBut here I am, less than a week out and I’m preparing to make the jump. This trip is going to be life changing. I can’t expect it not to be.

Some of you are here because you’re family and you’re worried about me. Some of you because you want to live vicariously through me. And others because I know how to use a good hashtag. For those, and other reasons, you are here and here is where I want you. This is where I’ll record my journey in one of the best ways I know how, writing. And to start off, let me introduce myself.

My name is Jenna, I’m getting lost somewhere in my 20’s and no matter where I happen to be living at the time, I will always be from Maine. The first trip I took to Europe was in high school. I went to prep school and was in a music group (English Hand Bells for those of you curious enough to google it). Every two years our director did tours and my sophomore year, we went to Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to go back. During college, I took a year off and volunteered at a school in Denmark for 10 months. I thought, somewhere in the middle of those months, that my wanderlust would be (at least semi) cured when I got home. I was, happily, wrong. The past few years, I’ve graduated from college, moved across the country, been challenged in so many ways, and still I know there is something missing. I watch the world around me and talk to people I’ve met and I realize that I have this great opportunity to travel. Not only am I young and single, I don’t own anything, I live with family and I work in food service. Seeing the way our world is, I have come to the belief that so many of the problems we’ve created could be resolved by simply doing our utmost to understand others by taking a moment to lay down our egos and preconceptions, walk in their shoes and listen to their stories.

I’ve struggled a lot the past few months with a lot of fear and perceiptions of my own of what my life needed to look like, whether it had to do with my job, how much I made, or my propensity torwards singleness. Perceptions that have held me back from following my dreams of travel and I’ve finally come to a place where I’ve overcome fear and am ready to step off the cliff. Fear can only control what I allow it to control and I’m done letting it control me.

So welcome, whoever you are, for whatever reason you are here. It’s going to be a great journey.