I bought a oneway ticket” has a very romantic ring to it.
The whole idea of buying a ticket to some exotic place and playing it by ear upon arrival fascinates us, it entices us to break with the norm and try something crazy for once. The oneway ticket stories have a way of gathering a wishful audience, entranced with the idea that the possibility of such an uncertain reality actually exists.
But think back on all the oneway ticket stories you’ve heard and tell me,
did anyone ever tell you how terrifying boarding that plane really is?
I was the perfect example of someone totally enthralled with the idea of a oneway ticket, heck I took any chance I could get just to say those words to people. But as my departure date drew closer, the fear started to set in. I wasn’t afraid of going back to Rome, trust me when I say I could never fear that. I wasn’t afraid of working on the road either, remote work had become second nature to me. And I sure wasn’t afraid of traveling on my own, I live for that.
What I was afraid of was the “oneway” part to my oneway ticket to Rome.
Now I know a oneway ticket is not as permanent as we romanticize it to be. I can buy a ticket back whenever I want. Even if I were to run out of money, I have a loving family that would help me in any worst case scenario. But still, I didn’t realize how much power the “oneway” part to my ticket held until I actually had to carry through with it.
I’ll be brutally honest, getting on that plane was one of the hardest things I have done in a very long time.
Leaving my family, everyone with tears in their eyes, at the security gate only to go board a flight that would carry me thousands of miles away is not the romantic fairytale I had come to associate with a oneway ticket. Each step carried me farther and farther away from a life of comfort surrounded by my loved ones. Young and naive with my only direction being a gate number, I was overflowing with nerves and yes, tears.
But as the plane took off, I started to cry for a totally different reason. Getting on that plane was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
I have never been more proud of myself in my life.
There I was, despite all the fear and the doubt and the set backs, following through with a plan I had, up until recently, only ever dreamed of turning into reality. Getting on that plane was basically me telling myself
“I believe in you. No matter what lies on the other side of this, you are stronger than it all.”
And let me tell you, that is one of the best things in the world to hear.
So, here I am on the other end of my oneway ticket.
I’ve settled into my apartment in Rome (the Pope is basically my next door neighbor, I’m that close to the Vatican) and am reorienting myself with the twists and turns of the streets here. I’m taking my time, spending the majority of my days slowing meandering down familiar back alleys and short cuts that leave the tourists wondering if I really had appeared out of thin air. Being back in Rome feels like reconnecting with an old friend, the kind that you can sit and talk with for hours on end no matter how much time has passed between you. It still feels so surreal to be back, I want to soak it all in, just in case I discover it’s all a dream. One thing is for certain though, as I wander I feel my heart hum with happiness, rejoicing in it’s return home.
It seems silly now that I ever feared the oneway ticket at all.
I have a stubborn confidence in myself and an unwavering trust in whatever the path God has laid out for me, so bring it on fear, I dare you to try and intimidate me.
In the words of little Filippo, the boy I watched today run up and down Piazza Navona yelling at pigeons,
“Ho paura di niente!!!”