“Stop thinking about it and buy your first plane ticket.”
This was the advice given to me by an acquaintance from my hometown of Monticello, Indiana when I told him I was thinking about taking some time to travel. I purposefully sought out his counsel/advice since he had previously done the same thing years ago, although he was in his early to mid 20s when he took his adventure and I’m well into my 30th year before embarking on mine.
In 2006 Brandon went on a solo trip around the world, traveling extensively through Asia, Oceania and Europe. The guy took a cargo ships as a legitimate form of transportation (it’s not) in China and Japan, jammed with a bamboo flute playing family in Vietnam, and essentially crashed a wedding in Australia where he became the unofficial videographer and was invited to sit at the head table if that gives you an idea of just how badass he is. When his travels eventually took him to Australia, I was there studying abroad during the spring semester of my junior year at Butler University (GO DAWGS!). Having heard I was in Brisbane, he emailed me to ask if it were ok if he “stopped by.”
Allow me to provide a little context here. Brandon was a senior when I was a freshman in high school. He was a tennis-playing, guitar-strumming, dreamboat who also happened to be one of the kindest, most sincere guys ever. He was also the object of nearly every girls’ affection at Twin Lakes High School, including yours truly. So was it “ok if he stopped by?” Let me answer your question with a question: “is it ok if I tell everyone I’ve ever known that BRANDON PUSEY IS COMING TO AUSTRALIA TO SEE ME?!?”
Ok, that’s a little dramatic. He was certainly not coming to Australia to see me, and there was nothing even remotely romantic about our meeting. But I did feel like the coolest, luckiest girl to have ever walked the planet that he would even want to meet up for a drink with me on his monumental year abroad. Eventually on his travels Brandon met his future wife, Maud; a beautiful French woman, with whom he now has two beautiful French children. C’est la vie.
Cut back to 2014. I Facebook messaged Brandon out of the blue to pick his brain about his travels. He messaged me back immediately saying “I’m on the train back to Paris. I’ll call you in 30 minutes.” Like every traveler I’ve met before and since, he was more than eager to discuss the possibilities of my pending adventures.
As promised, he called me promptly and I spent the next hour meticulously asking him the questions I’d written out, like the planner I am. “What about health insurance? Packing? Making arrangements on the fly? Visas?…and every other worry that goes along with solo, extended travel?!” He listened, asked and answered questions, but eventually he simplified it for me: Stop thinking. Stop worrying. All you really have to do is go.
So I’m just going.