On my 15 hour drive back home to the good ol’ south, it became painfully clear that the dangerous amount of alone time I had would likely lead to my first blog post.
The roads were fairly empty, with the majority of cars filled with like-minded travelers ready to get a long Sunday drive over with. As I passed through St. Louis, then Nashville and on to Asheville, I was immersed in the winding road ahead. The metaphorical “winding road,” of course. “I’m moving to Israel,” was the continuing narrative that guided me past the countless exits. The road ahead was long and overwhelming as I considered all of the possibilities the next 10 months of my life would bring.
What struck me more than the sense of excitement and apprehension for the completely new life ahead was the feeling of utter confusion. In a matter of months, my life had turned into a road trip that didn’t have a set destination.
Yes, the next 10 months were spoken for, but the lack of a plan concluding my experience abroad turned a purposeful adventure into a confused mess called my “twenty-something life.” Oddly enough, the lack of solid plans was what turned me on to this program in the first place. I figured it would open me up to a veritable poo-poo platter of life-changing experiences which would then contribute to post-Israeli life. But as D-Day (Dani Moves to Israel Day) approached I felt more and more uncomfortable regarding my lack of plans.
As I thought back to the last few months, I realized there was an inevitable “plans” conversation I had with everyone in my life regarding my recent life choices. For some reason my answer seemed to hit a general feeling of discomfort, both for me and the poor soul listening.
“Well, what do you plan to do when you get back?” said the confused face staring back at me.
For most, including me, plans are a way to achieve a sense of normalcy. A solid job, an apartment lease and the general acquisition of “things” all contribute to plans. Plans help people feel at home in their current situation because I’ve learned home doesn’t necessarily mean your parents house anymore. Plans show a sense of purpose and meaning. And when one or all of those plans are missing, home seems so far from reach that the discomfort more than likely forces people into a plan, whether they really want it or not.
So what was my answer to the “plans” question? Well, I certainly don’t like to be “forced” into anything. In my ripe old age of 23, i’ve noticed that my stubborn nature contributes to a certain type of courage that allows me to do things that make most people feel uncomfortable. The decision to move to Israel is no exception. I didn’t want the discomfort of not having a plan to force me into turning down the chance to do something I have grown to feel very passionate about.
“I’m just going to let the experience guide me,” I would say with a big smile.
I realized the more I said it, the more I believed it. So, yes, it’s uncomfortable to not have plans. Yes, I feel that I’m somewhat of a homeless nomad. But what people forget (or choose to ignore) is that for many, plans aren’t a straight and narrow drive home. They are winding and tricky and at one point or another, plans find themselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or worse stuck at a complete halt. Some plans end up being forced to take detours, or even choose to take a scenic detour because that’s just what happens in life.
I’ve decided to think of my experience in Israel as a scenic detour. And the destination? It may be a new career or a family of my own. My biggest hope is that it’s a state of mind – happiness.