I decided to cut my Europe trip short in light of the global pandemic. The rapid and unexpected change of events taught me the power of being a responsible traveler. It was so surreal, going from being a carefree adventurer to realizing the world would be safer if I put myself in isolation.
From the beginning, I was completely against letting this pandemic stop my travel journey. Yes, this was selfish of me, but I wasn’t thinking rationally. Please understand that this trip was something I worked very hard for and the thought of cutting it short was devastating to me.
After many conversations and a difficult internal battle, I realized it would be irresponsible and against my morals for me to put other people’s lives in danger. So that evening, after eating dinner and while looking out at the Liverpool skyline, I booked my flight home for the very next day. Even though it was sudden, my gut told me to do it as soon as possible. As I stepped on the plane the next day. my close loved ones collectively sent me articles of news that the U.S. was going to close its borders to everyone, including American citizens. It was a confirmation that I made the right decision.
Yesterday, one of my good friends (I call him my “Rock”) agreed to go on a hike with me on the condition that we stay six feet away from each other. Alum Rock Park surrounded me with fresh air and clarity. The river was flowing rapidly below, newly revitalized by the recent rain. Listening to it gave me a new sense of hope. The fact that everything was so green was proof that the rain can be dreary in the moment, but will bring about a new beginning.
As we continued, we came to a crossroad. Brandon suggested the fork in the road was a metaphor for the direction my life was going. Walking across the bridge to my left would be like walking over all of my problems, symbolized by the rushing water below. It would be quick and easy, but there is a bigger chance of getting lost on the other side. Whereas walking along the path in front of me, moving beside the river, would give me a chance to reflect on my experience, figure out a way to do it better, and get a clearer idea of what lies over the bridge. Then the realization hit me: this was an opportunity!
In the end, I feel nothing but gratitude for my experience. I even made new friends along the way. I can use the time I have to build off of what I have learned. I can make all of the inspirations I’ve had over the course of the last six weeks become a reality, and that is what really matters.