Saturday, September 13, 2014

2015: My Year Abroad

Since my first trip abroad, to Spain one summer with my high school class, I've longed to live abroad for a substantial time period. I've wanted the adventure, the thrill of being in a different environment, the mental challenge of being immersed in a foreign language and foreign culture.

I made one more short trip to Spain with my mom, and I spent three weeks in Oaxaca (in southern Mexico), attending a language school and participating in the life of a homestay family there. I wanted to take a half year — an entire year — and really live somewhere else.

But I graduated college without doing any study abroad. It just never fit with the class schedule for my major. I started working full time. I got married, bought a house. Although I still wanted to have that adventure, it seemed increasingly likely that it just wasn't ever going to actually work out. The timing never seemed right, and I saw no reason why the timing would get any easier.

Yet I would still wistfully mention it to Forrest. To his credit, he consistently told me I should do it. I just felt like it wasn't something that could reasonably happen in reality.

When I started describing such a trip as something I'd regret never doing, Forrest finally told me that while he didn't have the same live-abroad wanderlust that I did, I shouldn't let that stop me. He told me I should just make it happen already. At which point, I started talking to people about when I would spend a year abroad, rather than if. It's amazing how much difference a single word can make, even just in my own mind.

So after spending almost half my life (damn! I make myself feel simultaneously old and young!) wanting this, and spending the past year seriously turning to the practical and logistical side of things, I am finally going to make it happen.

Many of my friends and family — and any strangers foolish enough to express any interest ;) — have already heard some portion of my plans. It's been over a year since my last blog post; this seems like a suitable "announcement" to break that silence:

I will be spending 2015 in Mexico!

I'm going to be rather busy up until I actually leave. I'm no longer at Google, and Forrest gave his notice earlier this month, so we're planning to do some traveling together before I go off on my own adventure.

In September, I'm spending the weekly camping at Lake Wenatchee State Park with friends, attending CatalystCon West (a sexuality/sex-positive/education/activism con) in LA, and meeting up with the old Jambool gang to go wine tasting 4 years post-acquisition. Then, mid-October, we're going to Disneyland with Jambool-Ben and his friends.

On either side of the Disneyland trip, Forrest and I will visit family in California At the very end of October, we're then heading to Baja with my parents. They'll road-trip with us for ~2 weeks then head back while Forrest and I continue wandering around the peninsula. We'll will return to California in time for Thanksgiving, and also spend Christmas and New Year's with family.

Once January 2015 rolls around, I'll be heading for the city of Guanajuato and the start of my one-year Mexico adventure!