When I googled this image of my would-be daily commute to my volunteer placement in Cambodia, I laughed. I shook my head and said to myself, “Petrina, you’re f*cking crazy.“
The reason I laughed was not because I thought the area looked unsafe and uncivilized. Rather, I laughed because this image was a shocking slap back to reality. The whole time I had my nose behind tour guides, reviews, and blogs, everything was exciting yet felt so distant. It’s funny how a simple picture can change all that.
This is so far out of my comfort zone, I don’t even know how I made it this far. There were days I had almost-breakdowns, terrified to the point of nausea and sweaty armpits. What was I thinking, going alone?! Frantically I texted my closest friends, hoping they could calm the fire. At some point along the way, when I realized noone was going to reply because they were all sleeping like normal humans do, I came to understand something. The only person in this world you can rely on, 100% of the time, is yourself. No matter how much someone else loves you, they can’t be there for you all the time. They have their own lives. People also come and go. The only person you can rely on is yourself.
When I’m halfway across the globe, I won’t be able to have the gratification of an instant text message, telling me to breathe and that everything will be okay. I won’t be able to ask my loved ones for a hug, or a shoulder to lean on. It’s a hard fact to swallow, but it’s one I’m going to have to learn real quick. I’m taking a deep breath, and I’m going in.