The Step Out the Door
“The Ozarks is where I belong.”
This wasn’t a declaration of pride, but rather a simple, subconscious inner agreement that I was satisfied where I was:
in my small hometown, where things felt familiar, predictable.
As an introvert with high levels of social anxiety, these were desirable qualities. I wanted peace and comfort; not adventure and surprises.
The rest of the world was just a story I wasn’t interested in reading. A book to keep on a high shelf and collect dusty cobwebs.
But love can make you do crazy things.
Four years before I became a world traveler, I met my partner. A foreigner who lived across the world, and was only visiting the US for the summer. We would cope with being in a long distance relationship for those years, our only reprieves being the few summers he could visit me.
But eventually, it would be my turn to visit him.
By this time, I was 23 years old.
I had never stepped foot outside the USA.
Had never been on a plane on my own.
Had never even ventured more than 2 hours from home by myself.
And was no less burdened by my oppressive social anxiety.
But here I was, not taking just a teensy step outside my comfort zone.
But instead, going on a solo trip that would last 24 hours, flying me across the world to Istanbul, Turkey.