My time starts in a few minutes when I board a plane for New York City. I decided to take this trip for so many reasons... many of them coming after I initially planned to go.
I decided to go to Europe because a dear family friend, who is more my cousin than anything else, is getting married in Spain. That said, I hemmed and hawed before I decided that yes, I was going to go to Europe. After coming to terms with that, I figured it would be smart to see if my friends from college who are stationed in Italy. Okay, Italy and Spain. Sounds great, right? Right, I thought so too. Once I got the date for the wedding I started looking at my vacation time (I was still working at the time) and savings and realized that I could take an "extended" trip and have a grand adventure. When looking at prices, I figured it would be cheaper to fly out of a hub on the east coast because it was a shorter flight. Good decision for sure.. so then okay, flying to New York, no big deal, Jet Blue has flights there every day.
I was able to book my flights from JFK to Barcelona and back, knowing that I would be able to arrange flights aroud Europe later on when I had more of an idea of what was going on. Two weeks in Europe was already the trip of a lifetime, especially beacuse I would be seeing good friends/family and going to a wedding. Another big decision then came up: New York. Should I stay there a few days and see the city, or should I just use that as a stopping point? Knowing that I had always wanted to visit the city in some capacity, I figured why not? Why not spend 3 or 4 days visiting a storied city that has forever been on my list of things to do?
That's when I realized that I had made a promise to myself a few years ago. "Go to NYC, even if for a few days, and get to Europe before you're 30." That's what I had decided after graduating for college. I didn't tell anyone, because that would 1) hold me accountable; 2) make it worse if it didn't happen; and 3) because that would have just made sense. Regardless, I made that promise to myself, and low and behold here I was at 26 making plans to cross two things off my bucket list.
4 days in New York, the red eye out from Long Beach, everything was making so much sense. I was working a ton of overtime, pushing aside any criticism and doubts from friends and family because I knew that in order to pay for this trip without cleaning out my accounts, I would have to work a little extra. It's a damn good thing I did. In trying to calculate my vacation time, get it approved by my managers, the more I pushed to do the right thing and work with them, the more hoops I was told to jump through. No matter what happened, no matter how hard it was not to scream, or how much I really began to hate my job, I worked through it, I did a good job and made sure that no matter what I did, it was always the right thing. I jumped through their hoops as best as I could, but still there was push back because my new manager "didn't like that people were taking long vacations." Well, I had already booked the tickets and begun reserving rooms and hotels. There really was no turning back and by this time, I was determined to go.
Thanksgiving and Christmas passed, the new year came and that's when everything got a little crazy. Things at work were stressful, but still, I came in, did my job to the best of my abilities, and did my best to do it with a smile, no matter how hard some days were. That's when, on my aunt's birthday, I was let go. Fired really.. Well, as the official papers say, I was "terminated." Cue me completely freaking out. This wasn't how things were supposed to go. But here I was, walking out with bags of things acccumulated from the last two and a half years. I won't lie, I wallowed for a while, thinking of cancelling my trip, trying to figure out a way to get everything firgured out financially as quickly as possible, constantly overwhelmed by the entire thing. Once the inital wave of freak outs subsided and my ego started to recover, I realized that things were going to work out. People always say that things happen for a reason, and yeah, I believe that to, but this?! In the beginning, this was just added stress, added worry, and added fear that I didn't need if I was going to be traveling thousands of miles away. Now it was a complete and total blessing, allowing me the freedom and the ability to do as I pleased without having guilt hung over me that "I was leaving." Now, I'm going on a grand adventure and excited about all of it, even just the idea.
So here I am, sitting in the Long Beach airport, my bag checked, comfy travel clothes on (yes, with a change of clothes in my bag - there's no way in hell I'm walking around New York looking ridiculous), books, movies, podcasts and music at the ready, waiting to board. Waiting to start my grand adventure on my mom's birthday (best kid ever!). Yeah, I was fired on my aunt's birthday (what a birthday gift, right?!) and I'm leaving on my mom's birthday. If you know my family, you know that we have this weird thing where dates line up. DIfferent important things for our family will happen on the same day, years apart, or on someone's birthday, so I shouldn't have expected this to be much different.
I'm headed for New York for 4 and a half days, then a travel day so that I get to Italy on May 22nd. then to Spain on May 30th. I'll be back home June 7th, and as much as I am excited for this trip, I'm extra excited for what will happen when I get home, I have a lot on the horizon.
I'll be posting updates as much as I can, probably at random times, but expect lots of stories and pictures about what I ate, where I go and pictures of random, pretty things. and some of me and my friends of course. Then, when I come home, I'm determined to do what I've always wanted to do.. some of you know, some of you don't, so for now, I'll keep that to myself.. it'll give me something to talk about when I get home, too.
Here goes nothing, and everything, all at the same time. Wish me luck, I'm going to go have fun for a few weeks.