Webster’s Dictionary defines a byway as “a little traveled side road” and “a little known aspect or field”. The way I figure it, truly coming to know yourself can only happen when you step off the well beaten path. How else will you learn how you react in challenging or unexpected situations? Growth is often uncomfortable. In fact, I’d venture to say that growth is always uncomfortable. But I have to believe that growing and learning about myself will be worth any amount of anxiety or apprehension I might feel. It is in this spirit that I set out on the adventure of a lifetime: a venture through the byways of Spain, and, hopefully, the byways of myself.

I’m under no delusion that this amazing opportunity will be without its difficulties. Already, I feel the impact of leaving behind everything that I’ve come to know and love and stepping into the unknown for three months. However, as the most wise J.R.R. Tolkien has said, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Of course I’m stepping just a little bit outside of my own front door, but I would like nothing more than to be swept off to places that I could not anticipate or plan for. How else will I find those little-traveled roads and make all the difference the way Robert Frost did?

So in conclusion, cheers! Cheers to a life worth exploring and living. Cheers to getting lost at least four times a day. Cheers to new experiences and defining moments. Cheers to the thorns along those unbeaten paths. And cheers to being unapologetically human and everything that goes with it: the tears, the laughter, the mistakes, and the potential. Finding these byways will be the easy part, the real question will be how I will allow them to shape me into the person I’ve always wanted to become. But then again, isn’t that the big question about life as well?


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