One year ago, I boarded a plane to Spain to begin a long-term round-the-world adventure.
My plane thundered down the runway and swung into the air: No turning back. My hands were sweaty, my throat dry, and a pang of fear coursed through me. I was suddenly sure I was about to make the worst mistake of my life. I was a wallflower, an introvert. I didn't do these kinds of things.
I shut my eyes and tried to remember all of my reasons for doing this. Because I wanted to see the world. Because life is so short and precious. Because I was healthy. Because my knees still worked. Because it was possible.
I'd become convinced this crazy idea was actually possible after a quick trip months earlier. On a warm day in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, I had lunch with a worldly old Australian man called Mike. Mike led the kind of adventurous life I'd only dreamed of. When I wished aloud that I could travel like he has, he simply looked me in the eye, shrugged and said, "Then do it. It's not that hard."
Somehow, I believed him. And here I was, about to live my dreams - while nearly having a panic attack.