Day 3: A Sudden Reflection on Packing

I forgot how nervous I become when I start packing.

It’s a process. I started last weekend and over the course of the week my stomach pinched and filled with butterflies.

The thing is I’m not nervous about JET or moving to Japan. I’m actually excited about the venture. No, I am nervous about packing up and unpacking in my new home. Over my travels I have lived out of my suitcase/back pack and never fully unpacked or made a place my own – not even when I lived in New York City for eight months. My roots have been split between home base and my suitcase. This time I travel as a worker who has a new home and job. Instead of a suitcase and a back pack I get two large suitcases and a carry-on to pack up me. I thought there would be too much room until I started packing up my home life.

I am not moving furniture or household goods. Instead I pack my entire essence – from precious knickknacks to hobbies to pretty dress clothes – things I wouldn’t even consider packing on a typical adventure. I don’t know if I can fit it all. What started out larger now seems small -or at least not enough.

There is a vulnerability in putting roots in a new place, a new culture, and knowing no one. You get to put a piece of yourself in a brand new place.  I am scared of what will happen when I put the last item away and stow away the luggage. Once again I chose to jump into the unknown and put myself out in the open as if to say ‘Well? What do you think?’

I find comfort in that I have done this many times before with the only difference being this abstract idea of permanence and grounding yourself in a physical space. My college experience around the world gave me the tools and training to handle whatever comes my way. In the end I find comfort in the phrase “You’ll figure it out.” Because I know it is true.

My bags are 90% packed and I have two days left before I fly to Chicago to meet the Midwest group. In place of anxiety excitement grows and the sadness of leaving home turns into fondness and strength. I might always be a little half-packed in life but home is all around me.

Happy Travels



  1. I already know you forgot something: me! But I don’t think I’ll fit in your suitcase… Darn!

    I am so excited for you, and I can’t wait to hear all of your stories. There are positively fantastic things in store for you, and you will learn and grow just as much as your students, if not more so.

    Good luck! Make good choices, but take some risks! Get out there and teach/learn/live!

    I’m coming up with ideas for your first care package already. Let me know what you “need” (and of course, by need, I mean want and/or miss).

    Much love,
    Your sister

  2. Avery,

    Thanks so much for your online journal as I will live vicariously through you. I am so happy you are following your heart and doing the things you love. Please send me your address and I will certainly send you some things from NYC before I leave. Keep traveling girl as you are eyes to the world.


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