I began traveling with my parents before I was even one year old. I learned to walk in Germany, saw Punch and Judy shows in France, and explored the monasteries of Japan, all before the age of twelve. So, it seemed natural for me to go on a group trip to France for a month during the summer after my tenth grade. I had been taking French for years, I loved French pastries, and I loved to travel. But, I am also very anxious. For months, I fixated on this trip. I convinced myself I would not make any friends, I feared meeting my French host family, I feared conversing in French, but most of all, I feared traveling without the comfort of my family. I built these fears up so much that one day I found myself curled up in a ball on the couch, crying convulsively, and almost unable to breathe, all due to the dreaded “trip to France”. I felt guilty and spoiled, but all I wanted to do was cancel my trip.
Instead, a few days later, I walked through the door of someone my father knew, a fellow psychiatrist. I rarely called her that to my friends; instead she was “the woman I went to see to talk about France”. I saw her for the last few months of tenth grade, and in her room, I realized: I must face my fears, or they will overcome me. If I didn’t go to France, then when would I be able to leave my house on my own? Would I be able to go to college? I envisioned a long life living at home with my mom and dad. And while I love them, I definitely did not want that. I’m sure they didn’t either.
So, in June after tenth grade, I walked into the North Baltimore train station to meet a fellow France traveler, and together we began our journey to Paris. We took the train together, and never stopped talking the whole rest of the trip. Three years later, that fellow traveler is one of my best friends; the next summer, I traveled to Thailand with a different group and had the time of my life; and now, I am happily ensconced at college.
This I believe: I must face my fears, or they will overcome me.
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