Okay so maybe a week overdue, but this is the final post related to my trip to the South Pacific. I hope you all enjoyed the previous posts and pictures. This last journal entry was a collaborative effort between “stressed-at-the-airport Amanda” and “can’t-sleep-on-the-plane Amanda.” With that disclaimer in mind, enjoy!
4am wake up. Battling sun poisoning, my teachers kept a close eye on me. On the plane, Mikayla and I sat next to Alex, the 25-year-old Australian with commitment issues. He was journeying to Vegas for a work conference for the week, completely comped by his company. As you may have been able to tell, we learned everything about him on the 6 hour flight, and maybe a little too much. This includes the cultural differences between Australians and Americans. The poor guy probably wanted to sleep, but that wasn’t an option to us. We taught him that Bostonians have 25 letters in their alphabet, excluding the “R.” He taught us that “Throw some shrimp on the Bar-B” was incorrect just because shrimp are called prawns in Australia. Furthermore, the Outback Steakhouse and Kangaroo Jack are not acceptable impressions of The Land Down Under. However, the song is. Then, we unloaded the plane at LAX and said goodbye to Alex, to the confusion of our friends.
A few hours later…
I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m hurt. I’m sick. Seven hours walking around LAX doesn’t work wonders on the boredom factor. I just want to be home. I’m anxious about my burns. There is no comfortable position to sleep anymore. My legs, arms, stomach, everything hurts. At this point I’m crying, trying not to wake anyone else who’s lucky enough to sleep on this red-eye.
But I kept crying, not for the burns. For the internal hurt. How I can’t fix the world’s problems – how I haven’t even started to do my part. I want to go back to Fiji and help the non-commercialized corner of the island–the side that hasn’t sold out to tourism. I want to be a part of that. I want to do mission work in Haiti and India. I have big plans for myself. And with that comes the admission that I really have no clear-cut path of how to get there. But I know that I’m striving to do something that other people shy away from. When others see footage of war-torn countries, they step away. I’m the wide-eyed girl who not only absorbs the problem, but searches for the solution.
They say: “Without a destination, there is really no wrong path.” I don’t know who said it, or if that’s even verbatim, but the message still applies. But what happens when you have a destination, a goal, a dream, a vision, with no insight as to how to get there?
The way I see it, from right here in my window seat 35,000 feet above my comfort zone, adventure is one of two things, depending on who you ask. It’s an event or an opportunity that comes to someone, OR an event/opportunity that is sought out by one person. And right now, I’m achieving adventure one way or another.
Shortly before landing…
If you’ve never seen a city at dawn from an airplane, sun rising over the horizon, city lights glowing orange against pools of black, then welcome to your life. You have the opportunity to see this wonder from 35,000 feet in the air. It’s the standard of awesome against which all others are measured. Live your lives, fully, please. As I tell my mom: “All have the potential, not all have the opportunity.” Take hold of those chances to travel, and fall in love with as many things as you can. To you idol worshipers, put down your golden calves. And pick up a book, a language, a culture, and embrace it whole-heartedly. Because with a little perspective, you may just witness one of these…