Last night I was on an airplane balling my eyes out.

This wasn’t one of those cute cries…my chin was dripping tears, my eyes were bright red and I couldn’t breathe out of my nose because I was so congested.

The feeling of leaving the place where I created a new home for myself, filled with love and adventure is still raw. I kept reminding myself that I was the one who decided that it was time for me to leave Nashville and start to backpack the world by myself. The only thought going through my mind was, “What was I thinking?!”

As I sat on the airplane awaiting the inevitable take off my heart felt constricted.

I’ve read plenty of articles about girls who have dropped everything to go and travel the world. I’ve listened to people talk about their experiences and not once have I heard anyone talk about how at first it hurts.

Like, really bad.

You know that feeling in the deepest part of your heart that you get when you are going through a break up?

That was it.

Not only was I scared to leave the life that I had created for myself, I was scared to walk into the life that was presenting itself to me.

Yes, traveling the world, meeting new people, adventuring to incredible places and essentially living life to the fullest sounds all fun and games when you are booking your ticket but there is a point where you think, “What the hell am I doing?”.

This point for me was walking into the airport and officially saying good bye to the beautiful life that I was living.

As I sat on the plane, I pulled out my phone and started to write.

Somehow amongst the tears I was able to find the exact words to console myself:

I’m currently living in a state of overwhelming bittersweetness (is that a word?). Cried my eyes out saying good bye to my friends, continued crying all the way to my gate and the poor person who just sat next to me on the plane has no idea what he’s in for. Here’s what I’ve learned: you have to say yes to adventure. There will come a point when adventure starts whispering in your ear, slowly becoming louder until one day you can’t stifle the noise and you HAVE to succumb to what the adventure is telling you to do. I listened to that voice 2 years ago and my adventure was moving to Nashville with my two best friends. Sitting on this plane, “golly” I can tell you that listening to that voice was the best decision I ever made. Now that voice is telling me to start another adventure and even though I feel like I’m not ready to end my first, I’ve learned how important it is to listen to that voice when it tells me it’s time. In short: here goes nothing.

If we aren’t ever hurting, does that mean that we are only staying stagnant?

When I look back on my life, the moments that I have grown, learned and fallen in love with life the most are the times that were hard.

My first break up hurt…yet I would never take that experience away from myself if I was given the choice. It created me into the resilient and independent woman that I am. It showed me what my standard for the next man I would date was, it taught me how to let go and forgive and it allowed me the room I needed to grow into myself.

Two years ago when I left my hometown and moved 1,000 miles away to Nashville I remember saying good bye to my parents and crying. I was scared and in that moment I wasn’t sure that I was making the right decision. I felt terrible for leaving my family, I had no idea what my future held. I was terrified that I was making a mistake. Looking back on my two years in Nashville, you couldn’t pay me one million dollars to go back in time and not have moved. It was the best decision I could have ever made for myself. This was the place where I made my dreams of being a writer come true and I would have NEVER been able to pull that off back home.

This pain is temporary-the lessons are permanent.

These hard moments are what will shape me and mold me into the person that I aspire to be.

This experience will determine how far I can take my writing career.

Permanently traveling will enlighten me to what my values and priorities should actually be.

As I gain more experiences in life I am realizing that sometimes the best gifts aren’t always packaged in beautiful boxes.

Sometimes they are disguised by an ugly situation like a break up or a massive life change but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t embrace them.

I am full heartedly embracing this pain and allowing it to work its magic on creating the new beauty that I desire from my day to day life…

And I strongly believe that you should too.