I have mentioned in my past blog that I’ve been soul-searching and really focusing on finding the person I’m meant to be. I mentioned making a list of things that I was scared to do and taking baby steps every day to actually do them. Well back in December I basically said fuck the baby steps and took a huge leap of faith almost halfway across the world.

To backtrack a little, I have been traveling for as long as I can remember. I have been born with the travel bug thanks to my mother who is a travel agent. I have been fortunate enough to see the world from a very young age, my parents made sure I got to experience a lot of different things.

So growing up and traveling as often as I did, flying never really phased me much. As a kid it’s exciting and fun and you don’t really think of the dangers of it all until you become an adult. It wasn’t until September 11th that I really started to be afraid to fly and four months later I was on my way to Italy with my mom, more terrified than ever. I guess since then I’ve been more aware of the things that could go wrong while flying and because I have suffered from anxiety those fears manifested into something much greater.

Getting me on a plane wasn’t the hardest part it was keeping me calm during the entire flight. I’m definitely one of those people that grabs onto the seats or someone’s hand for dear life anytime there is a sudden movement. Sweaty palms, panic attacks, tears streaming down my face, you name it, it was happening to me. I’ve tried everything to keep my calm, shots before the flight, deep breathing, even Valium. My adrenaline while flying is pumping much too fast for anything to help.

So what possessed me to get on a flight to fly to England by myself? Well for one, I got tired of not living my life to the fullest out of fear something bad would happen. I have prevented myself from a lot of things that could’ve made me happy out of being too afraid. What better way to find yourself then to do something you never thought you could do? You see it in movies all the time. Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love and Diane Lane in Under The Tuscan Sun, both movies based off books in which real women decided to say fuck it, and face their fears. This is the attitude I channeled when deciding to take this trip.

Besides wanting to do something a bit brazen, a man I had begun talking to was the deciding factor on me taking this trip. This might sound a little crazy, and maybe I’ve watched too many romantic comedies in my day, but it was like one of those stories you only see in the movies.

I’m not exactly sure how he found me on Instagram, but we shared a lot of common interests so one of my hash tagged photos popped up in his feed and he started to follow me. I didn’t think much of it at first, but one day I decided to look at his page to see who this guy who liked all my photos was. Instantly I was like, okay wait, his accent is so sexy. I’m a sucker for accents. I decided to follow him back, i’d leave comments and likes here and there and then one day I thought, why not strike up a conversation? As funny as it sounds, I slid right into his DM’s and since that day the conversations never stopped.

The Instagram messaging led to the exchange of phone numbers, and that led to texting, face time, and the exchange of videos of us talking about our daily lives, three thousand miles apart. We shared a lot in common, had been through very similar experiences and had an instant connection. Ironically enough I was planning a birthday trip in June to go to London and we chatted about meeting up but I had this sinking feeling about waiting too long to meet him.

New Years morning, about two weeks into talking, it hit me that I really wanted to meet this guy and I couldn’t wait until June to do it. Yes, only two weeks and I was already scheming up a plan to fly to England to meet a perfect stranger. It either could have gone one of two ways, and one of the ways involved my Dad having to channel Liam Neeson to save my life from being kidnapped into the sex trade. Either way, I wanted to take this risk, something was telling me to do it, this is what the universe had planned for me.

At first my Mom was completely perplexed as to why I would want to do this. One, she knew me getting on a plane by myself was nearly impossible and two, what the hell was I thinking going to a foreign country by myself to meet someone I don’t even know? Well after much convincing and her face timing with my British gentleman, she knew nothing was going to change my mind, I’m a grown woman and if this is what I wanted to do, I was going to do it. She helped booked my flight, I managed to get time off work, and it was settled. Everything seemed to align perfectly for this trip. I would be spending Valentine’s Day in Manchester, England, with a guy I met off Instagram.

What the fuck was I thinking? Who did I think I was? I am absolutely bat shit crazy for doing this but there is no backing out now.

Now before you think I am insane, I took a lot of precautions before booking this trip. By the time I flew out there, we had been talking for about two months, so we got to know a lot about each other before actually meeting face to face. I felt comfortable for a number of reasons, and had no red flags to think anything fishy was going to happen. I saw his ID’s, knew where he worked, my Mom even stalked his linkedin page (sorry, Mom’s gotta do her research too). If I was to be kidnapped, this guy would never get away with it because I had too much information about him. Some people were not convinced though and assumed I’d be thrown into the sex trade the second I got off the plane (can’t even lie, I even thought about it for a split second). Either way, I was doing it and no one was going to stop me but take my advice, if anyone out there plans on doing something crazy like this, PLEASE do your research first and make sure you are taking the necessary steps to ensure your safety!

So this is how my adventure began. The adventure I took that changed my outlook on life, and the outlook upon myself. I followed my heart to a place I never imagined seeing, and falling for a person I never imagined meeting.

The universe has a crazy way of teaching you about yourself. The lessons that I learned by taking this trip I don’t think I could have learned here at home. I took away more than I ever imagined, and the more I reflect on my trip to Manchester, the more I understand how much it needed to happen.

I will blog the continuation of this trip in a part 2 in the coming days. I’m excited to share the journey with everyone, been meaning to write about it for a long time and happy I can finally get it down into words. Thank you everyone for following my journey!

P.S. I just want to give my heartfelt condolences to all the lives lost in Manchester last week. It breaks my heart especially because the people of Manchester are some of the warmest, kindest, and most welcoming people I have ever encountered. My prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. Rest in Peace.