This time last year

I was standing at Manchester Airport, waiting to catch my flight to Rio de Janeiro.

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Caught between excitement and nerves, sadness at the thought of being away from so many people I love for so long and can’t-quite-believe-it’s-actually-happening glee.

It seemed too big for me and my little day-pack, too much. People must do things like that all the time, but for me, it was wild. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane. I couldn’t wait to meet my first Couchsurfing hosts, I couldn’t wait to see Brazil, and I couldn’t wait to begin.

It is a strange thing, moving from planning and dreaming for years to actually being there, living it. I remember a plane full of cheese (AirFrance!) and then jungle warmth rushing through the airport at dusk. I remember half-seriously believing that I was going to die on the taxi-ride into Cosme Vehlo.

Those six months were largely free from doubt. Even though I cried at Departures, and often it was hard – sometimes I knew what I was doing and sometimes I didn’t – I’d like to remember that most of all.