A Letter To The Girl Packing Her Bags For London
To The Girl Packing Her Bags For London,
Hey. I want you to know something.
I want you to know you’re about to go on the journey of a lifetime. Yes, a journey around the world, but more importantly, a journey into yourself, into your soul, and a journey that ends with so much more than when you left the comfort of American soil.
I want you to know that it’s okay to cry, that it’s going to be hard and you’re going to have some of your lowest lows of your entire life. But I want you to know that it’s okay, because it’s worth it, because you’ll bounce back so much higher than you’ve ever been before. You’ll find yourself in some dark places, but you’ll manage to climb up and up to heights you’ve never seen before.
I know that you're so excited, but I also know that you're scared. It's the first time you're ever leaving the only country you've ever known. And you're doing it all by yourself. I know it scares you, being four thousand miles from home, in a scary new place where you don't know anyone.
But trust me when I tell you that you'll meet the most extraordinary people. You'll meet people you'll never forget, people you'll make incredible memories with, people who will influence you more than you would have ever thought. And that new scary place? Trust me when I tell you that it's going to become your home. It's going to be a place that you'll feel homesickness for, it's going to become a place you'll always think of as a place you belong, a place where you feel safe and a place you feel comforted.
But at the same time, I want you to know that the next three months aren’t going to be easy. It’s not going to be just carefree fun and partying all summer long. It’s not going to be the absolute best time of your life the whole entire time. But it’s going to be one of the most important, life-changing periods in your entire life.
You will leave so much of yourself in the UK, in Europe. You’ll metamorphose into a new woman, a stronger woman, a smarter woman, a self-realized woman, an independent woman, and perhaps most notably, a confident woman. And with it, you’ll leave behind pieces of yourself, shed away old habits, old demons.
But not to worry, because you’ll find even more pieces of yourself, scattered across Europe, scattered across your eighty-two day timeline, for you to collect, to fit into your soul. You’ll pick up pieces you never knew belonged to you, but you will find them, and you will figure out how exactly they fit, even if not at first.
You’ll realize a few things. You’ll cry over them, act impulsively over them, get angry about them. But you’ll have realized those things, and that’s all that truly matters. You’ll understand things about family, about friendship, about relationships. You’ll figure things out about your goals, your path, your fate. You’ll learn a couple things that shape your worldview, your politics, your sense of compassion. You’ll learn some things about yourself, your soul, and life itself.
There will be many a thing that make you anxious, that make you nervous, but the beauty of being an American lost in Europe is that it’s easy to brush your mistakes away, to erase them until there aren’t any marks. It’s easy to excuse your behavior; to make mistakes, to embarrass yourself, without much consequence. It’s easier to just do now and think later, and maybe that’s exactly what you needed all along. Maybe you needed a transient environment to figure things out, to do things for you, to do things at all.
My darling, you will do everything you’re setting out to do, and so much more.
I want you know that you are loved, but perhaps not quite in the ways you think. I want you to know that you are powerful, but perhaps in the ways you least expected. I want you to know that you’re about to do great things, but perhaps not the things you thought you’d do.
I want you to know that you’re incredible, for what you’re about to do. That I’m so incredibly proud of you, for everything, for the tears and the hard times, too. I’m proud of everything you push through during this experience and everything you accomplish, no matter how small or personal or seemingly insignificant. And you should be proud, too.
I want you to know that you’re going to embark on the journey of the lifetime, and that you’ve got this, even when it seems like you don’t. I believe in you, so please, my dear, believe in yourself, and everything will fall right into place. I guarantee it.
So safe travels, and remember, I’ll see you on the other side.
The Girl Unpacking Her Bags From London