Today is the day. My bags are almost packed. My reading is almost done. My excitement is almost contained. Only in the last day, have I begun to feel a little apprehension about whether I am prepared. Already this summer, I have traveled extensively. Each time I tried to remember a lesson about what I could do better next time. Take smaller bills and coins, for example, or take plenty of lotion and sunscreen. It doesn't do to run out on longer trips. I learned that it will be worth the weight of carrying my 15 inch laptop so that I can create documents as I prepare lessons, rather than deal with the slower and less equipped netbook. I will take a smaller bag for day trips so I don't have to lug my bigger backpack everywhere. Relying less on my cell phone has prepared me for international travel where I will not be able to use one. I know I could go and upgrade mine to get a global access card, but it will still be expensive, and I can simply use the internet, email, my blog, and Skype to stay in touch with my family and friends.
Why do most people say, when I tell them where I will be going, to "stay safe" and "be careful"? Yes. I have done some research on the area, the climate, the people, and culture of Senegal. I have read other traveler's blogs as well. For a first trip, I think I am as prepared as I can be, but I will learn, on this trip, things that I will do differently and better "next time". Since the likelyhood is that I will not be able to return to Senegal in my lifetime, I hope that what I learn can be useful to you or someone you know, who may have a similar opportunity in the future. I'm off this afternoon. By tomorrow I will be in Boston for three days of orientation and training. I do feel a little like I'm stepping off a cliff into the unknown, but I wouldn't change this chance of a lifetime for anything. I am taking that step. Come along via this blog. Share my adventure.