I am midflight between Paraguay and my first destination, Sao Paolo, and am only beginning to grasp the finality of my departure from a once hated, but soon beloved country. A place where I began my journey a mere six months earlier, unsure of what to expect, sad to leave home and yet thrilled to be on a new adventure. What lay ahead? Would I make friends? Would my Spanish be sufficient? Would this country feel like home to me?
Six months down the road my Paraguayan journey comes to an end and I can’t help but look back and smile that it happened…and watch the tears slowly fall now that it’s over. I’m not sure if words can accurately convey the breadth of sentiments I have experienced these last months; from anger and sadness, to excitement and happiness, to love and endless friendship. I cannot believe that it happened. I cannot believe that it is over.
I started on this journey knowing a change was necessary. Knowing that my passion lay in protecting animals and their environments, knowing that conservation was more than just a fleeting passion and that volunteering with WWF was the type of “Dream Come True” that very rarely occurs in one’s life, and even then to only a select few. What I got out of the experience was something so much more. Something indescribable. What I got out of the experience was self-discovery.
I am on my plane now. Heading back to a place I have missed terribly, but have been afraid to re-enter, for fear that once there my passions may stop stirring. That I may become complacent. That the incredible feelings of the last half a year might be forced into a dormant place in my heart and I am worried that my promises to return to visit the ones I love may not have their opportunity to occur or that my inspiration to write may be suppressed. While I know it my heart that I will be back and that I must continue on this journey of self-discovery, the question of what’s to come next is still yet to be answered.