Prologue 1: Hope
My story begins on the road.
It wasn’t the road around the world though. Instead, it was Route 89 though northern Arizona. Two weeks earlier, I had graduated college. Most of my peers were heading off to work, diving into the real world. Me? I was driving back home to live with my parents.
With a need for solitude, time to reflect, I’d decided to take the most barren route. Through the abyss of the mountain west I charted my path far away from the freeways and arteries of America, instead parsing though the back-road capillaries, the gray squiggles on the map that most ignored. Why? I don’t know. Even as college was ending, I made no attempt to find a job. I had great friends in Los Angeles, yet now I was leaving them behind, ready for something new.
For as long as I can remember, I’d gone forward following the dream of light at the end of the tunnel. During high school, college was that light. During college, it was the possibility of studying abroad. Now, at the end of college it was something else. Without that glimmer of unknown, future hope, I found living in the present unbearable.
I had big goals in life. For as long as I could remember, I felt that I had the power within myself to change the world. So I drove through the desolate two-lane road, jagged cliffs in red hues surrounding the rocky desert, listening to the melodic strumming of Coldplay, the rhythms mixing perfectly with the arid landscape. There were no other cars on the road, there were no other people in the car with me. I was alone, as I wanted to be, mapping my own path, my destination uncertain but my route clear.
Because I was going to travel around the world. That was my light, and onto it, I’d pinned my future, my life, and all my desires.