Stop Letting Fear Stop You

Tomorrow marks one month since I left America. This past month has flown by and I am happier than I ever have been. I haven’t always been this happy to be here though.

I spent the month leading up to us leaving crying and stressing out over everything. I was the kid growing up that refused to go to summer camp because I didn’t want to be in a place that I didn’t know. In fact, the one time I did go, I cried every single day until the counselors allowed me to call my mom. Moral of the story is I grew up being a huge homebody, but as I have grown up I discovered my love for traveling.

My love for traveling led me to being certain that I wanted to study abroad. Which then led me to finding this opportunity. I remember the day I found out I was officially accepted. I thought to myself “I’ve got this, it’s just like going away to college and I did great at that.” I kept that mindset for months because I was just excited to finally live out my dreams of studying abroad. That mindset slowly diminished as the realization of me leaving the country for two and a half months set in.

The month leading up to us leaving was incredibly tough. Suddenly, it was like I was back in elementary school begging my mom to not make me go to summer camp. I was still excited but the fear was setting in. The fear of the unknown. The fear of leaving the country for the first time. The fear of being far away from my friends and family. The fear of forgetting something. It was debilitating fear that was hitting me like a train.

Luckily, I have an incredible support system that was nothing but encouraging. My mother in particular is amazing, no wonder why I have always had the hardest time leaving her. I would call her just about everyday just to make sure I was gathering all the right paperwork, getting my credit card set up, and most of all just to have her reassure me that I was making the right decision. Even when I called her bawling my eyes out, she would calm me down and reassure me that I was going to be okay. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if I ever would’ve gotten on the plane.

I did get on the plane though. I faced my biggest fears and just kept walking. I am so thankful that I did.

This is from our first weekend here. You wouldn’t even know I was ever scared to come to Italy – my happiness is radiating.

Follow your dreams, no matter how scary they are.

Ciao for now & War Eagle always! -Maddie Harris