I find it rather weird that all I feel when approaching the date on which I will fly more than 11.000 kilometers to another part of the world is excitement. Shouldn’t I be the slightest bit nervous?
The truth is that I am ready to leave Groningen behind and start over somewhere else. I have lived here for a long time and I have really enjoyed my student years, but I can’t wait to discover new parts of the world.
In these days of preparation I spend a lot of time Googling. I try to figure out all the sights to see in Jakarta, I want to know what to wear, what to bring, what to leave behind. I have looked up cinemas in Jakarta (just because I can), I have researched phone plans (even though I will just pick something in a store there) and I have even looked up the Asian toilet system (I found this link extremely useful and will think of this as the biggest trial of all. Barney said it best: Challenge accepted).
This pre-fun is great. I have found all kinds of awesome places to visit and knowing I will be able to do most of it, increases the fun exponentially.
But Google also brings up some horror stories about traveling abroad, especially alone and especially as a woman alone. Of course, some of these results are caused by the search terms I enter into the machine that knows all.
You hear a lot about people being scammed, robbed, harassed and I even read the most horrible story about someone being poisoned, only so they could bring them to a “doctor” around the corner with the miraculeus cure, which led to ginormous bills afterwards. All of this information has led me to fear two things.
- Having something stolen.
- The traffic.
Because I will be abroad for more than six months at a time, I will bring my laptop. I will also bring my fancy camera, to provide you (and future me) with idyllic pictures of landscapes (and selfies). I will bring my iPhone so I can Google map stuff, and yes, I do realize I sound like a complete Westerner (sue me). But with bringing my most prized possessions comes the risk of them being stolen.
I have taken some precautions. I will keep them out of sight most of the time, I will upload all of my photos regularly (because the pictures will be more valuable to me than the camera probably. However, this won’t stop me from crying if something were to happen to it). And I will keep my laptop at home or at hostels in safety lockers whenever possible.
The second point is something I am not looking forward to yet. Luckily, the place where I will do my internship is at walking distance of my house, but for other locations I will probably not be able to do it all with the walking bus. So I will have to take an actual bus, or a train, or a taxi. And I am slightly dreading this. But hey, it’s all part of the great experience, right? So I will suck it up and do it. After all, cycling through the Folkingestraat in Groningen has already thought me a great deal in that department.
So there it is, my two biggest fears, written and thereby virtually eternalized. But I do have to say, other than these two points…