Life Is a Trip

Nearly three years ago I purchased a passport with my now ex-boyfriend. I was excited but perplexed as to why I was making a large investment with someone I really did not care for. Our relationship had been filled with more downs than ups and this was doing nothing but covering an ugly wound. We could have traveled the entire world together and it would have made no difference for our feelings regarding one another. We could barely be in the same room, let alone travel to another continent.

My passport picture was empty. I was there but my eyes did not have any hint of sparkle or hope for the future. Each time I look at it now, I wonder what I was doing back then and why I had allowed myself to become chiseled down to half a woman. My boyfriend and I broke up months later and my passport started to collect dust in the drawer of my nightstand. To be honest, I was not sure if I would ever use it. I had only got it at his urging and I now didn’t have a true need for it.

Fast-forward to 2015 and I’m presented with the opportunity to travel abroad to Ghana with a brief stay in Turkey. The furthest I had been was the Bahamas on a girls trip as we sailed the ocean in search of a good time. The idea of traveling to the Motherland seemed nice in theory but I had more fear than anything. I had an immense fear of flying though I had taken my first flight ten years earlier. I was bothered by the climate in Turkey since they had been the topic of discussion as ISIS became a more well-known terrorist organization. I was afraid that any and everything could happen while I was out traveling the world.

After a few conversations with those I trust, I decided to jump. I purchased a ticket that would afford me the opportunity to finally put this passport to use. I’ve traveled to several places in the United States but I was really just a small-town girl from North Carolina. Who did I think I was to hop on a flight with my then boss and a group of teenagers from Washington, DC? I was out of my mind and completely okay with it.

The two weeks I spent in Ghana traveling the various regions were life changing. I knew there was a completely different world outside of my own but I was amazed by how much we shared in common. I had never felt so at home in a place that I had never frequented before in my life. I had never felt so awaken by stories of strangers who had showcased their strength centuries before. I did things that quite honestly scared the hell out of me. I opened my mind to the possibility that it was okay for me to actually let my guard down.

I visited slave castles and stood in the dungeon where ancestors had met their demise. I dipped my hand in the Slave River where people had bathed before being placed on a ship to unknown destinations. I learned how to eat the West African dish, fufu, with the help of a fine local named Kwame. I walked on the canopy of the forest of Kakum National Park and then danced the night away in a club filled with energy that would set anyone’s day straight. I watched the sunset over the ocean as I talked about America and my hope for the future.

I had become so engulfed in the present that I had forgotten about the past. I could not recall the initial fears that almost prevented me from making this journey. I had regained a piece of me that I thought may have been forever lost. This trip taught me that more often than not, I am my biggest roadblock. I had made the excuse for years that my ex-boyfriend had drained me of my regular self. This was true but I had failed to acknowledge that I allowed this be possible. I had almost given him the power to dictate what I wanted from my life. For the first time in a long time, I felt free. I felt free from all the restraints that had kept me a prisoner within my own mind. I had finally broken free and did the things I wanted to do not knowing they were exactly what I needed.

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