The other side of “what if?”

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I am currently sitting in LAX, exhausted as heck, waiting to catch a flight home. Six weeks ago I spent a whole week battling the fear of the unknown and with the encouragement of my boyfriend I clicked “pay” and booked a holiday to the United States. Alone.

I was the person who was scared of everything… what if the plane runs late? What if I go to the wrong gate? What if I end up in a deep sleep and no one wakes me up causing me to end up in Madagascar when I simply wanted to get off in Dallas?!?

For me, this trip was a big leap into the unknown. Saying goodbye to my boyfriend and family felt like chugging back a cocktail made with bacardi, curiosity, anxiety and sadness. Being the affectionate person that I am, I hug my family members. A lot. I may or may not have earned the title of octopus in my house. I check in with my parents every single morning on my way to work, even though we live in the same house, and my brothers are my best friends. Saying goodbye to them was hard. I have never taken an overseas trip separately to my family, let alone being totally by myself. At Sydney International I hugged and kissed them over and over until it was finally time to depart.

The main purpose of this trip was to visit family on the East Coast. The three and a half weeks went quicker than I imagined that they would, and saying goodbye to them was harder than I thought. We laughed through the tears and made promises to visit eachother as soon and as often as possible, and just like that my goodbyes were over. Or so I thought.

Sitting here, now, I realise there was one goodbye I didn’t make in Sydney, nor in Pittsburgh or Jacksonville. The goodbye to my former self.

On this trip I shook the hands of countless strangers and exchanged smiles with people I will never meet again. I laughed with people who knew true heartbreak and cried with people who didn’t even know my name. I took risks, trusted strangers and said yes to things I would normally reject.

In all the goodbyes I made, I forgot to make the most important one.

So… to the Isabella of fear, of anxiety, of nerves. The Isabella concerned with the judgement of others, restricted by the parametres of her own mind and held captive by the “what ifs”.

Goodbye.

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