The day I was scheduled to leave the US for Canada, I really didn't want to go. I was just coming off the back end of a 5 month stint living in a frat house at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League University located in Philadelphia. I never expected to move to Philly, but when a room opened up in the same house as one of my mates from Sydney for 1/4 of the original rent price, I had to take it.
I was supposed to be there for only 1 week. I remember sitting at the airline gate where my plane was boarding, watching a long line of people slowly board. A crazy thought popped into my mind, what if I just didn't get on? I had the intention of going back to LA, I had even bought one of those doughnut pillows for the flight while I was in the airport. I just kind of sat there.... watching. I had no idea if I was going to get on or not.
As the final call went out and the last person scanned their ticket, they closed the doors and my decision was made. Although... I was still paying rent in LA and ALL of my stuff was there. I quickly texted my friend to see if he wouldn't mind going to my place, packing all my things and sending it to me (that's a good friend right there!). I also had to awkwardly explain to my work why I was suddenly not returning...
For the 5 months I was there I pretended to be a freshman, going to all the parties and 'rushing' the unsuspecting fraternities who thought that I was one of them. I'd always seen what American colleges were like on TV, and I got to experience all of it..... minus the studying, and that was pretty cool.
Living in a fraternity was something that I had always wanted to experience, but never really expected to happen. It also happened at a completely unplanned and random moment as I was already renting and living in another city. If I was not open to change and willing to make a decision that everyone deemed crazy I wouldn't have had an awesome experience that I was able to learn and grow from.
But 5 months later it was time to leave. Not just leave Philadelphia, but the US as a whole. I didn't have enough money to fly home to Australia, so I decided to continue into Canada.... I wasn't finished traveling anyway! I couldn't afford a plane ticket so I booked a 13 hour bus ride to Toronto. I found a place to stay by searching on Craigslist and having a skype call with a youngish woman who seemed relatively normal (advice: don't do this).
It only sunk in 5 hours before I had to go that this was actually happening and my mind shifted from just not wanting to leave, to running a million miles an hour and rationalizing why I didn't have to. About an hour from the bus's scheduled departure and I was sitting in my mates room playing playstation when he turned to me and said he thought it was in my best interest to not delay my stay and to get on the bus. I didn't bother arguing, I knew he was right..... Damnit!
Once again my decision was pushed until the final moments, and I raced upstairs to shove all my belongings into my suitcase. I called an Uber and as it rolled up in the snow I turned to my mate and said something along the lines of "I'm freaking out man" and got in the car. It was just as scary as the first time i'd done it, and I didn't know what to expect on the other side.
In moments like these where you are facing the unknown, the only thing you have to fall back on is your own self-confidence. There have been many times in my life where I didn't know what would happen after making a certain decision, but at the core of my decisions has always been the confidence in knowing that whatever DOES happen, I'll handle it.
The decision to move to Toronto, just like my move to Philadelphia, provided me with an amazing experience of growth and also led me to my current girlfriend of 2.5 years Laura who has had a ridiculously positive effect on my life. Since then we have moved back to Australia together for a year and now we're finishing up another whole year in Toronto before continuing our exploration through the US (and now Canada) in a renovated schoolbus (still in the renovations phase!).
What I have learned from this is that even when we think we know what to expect, there is still a good chance that it will not work out that way, so there is no point trying to cling to certainty all the time. Embracing the unknown is also accepting the fact that we don't always know what's around the corner. The only difference is one of us greets the unexpected outcome with negativity, and the other greets it happily because it arrived just as expected :)
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