Anyone who knows me is aware that traveling alone is not my forte. Being in and learning about new places is wonderful. Meeting new people is exciting. Doing all that by myself? Not as wonderful, not as exciting.
Going to Washington D.C. for the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship training in April was my first real solo trip, and it was very intimidating. My stomach was in knots for weeks before, and, of course, there were the stress nightmares. The trip was an amazing experience that helped me get ready for an even bigger adventure: going to the Arctic and then staying in Norway as an extension. The stress nightmares are already in full force and my stomach is in knots again. Did you know that in dreamland, giant jumbo planes do 360 degree turns and do head butts with other planes, and that you can be on the plane bound for Norway and suddenly be off the plane back at SeaTac? June 11 is not very far away and my subconscious knows it.
“It’s cool!” as my students and I often remind each other. “You can do it; stick to it!” This will be a year for courage. Courage doesn’t mean free of fear, by the way. It can mean doing what needs to be done in spite of fear. At the end of all this fear balled up with excitement, I can sigh and say, “I did it!” and then share the experience with as many people as possible.
I have made and will make new friends along this journey, so I won’t truly be alone. Plus, I know there are so many people rooting for me back at home, family, church family, school family, the Rochester community, the Grosvenor Fellows and of course all the wonderful people involved with the fellowship. One of the fellows, Fiona Hall, will be my expedition partner. If all goes well, I’ll also have a traveling partner in Norway for part of the time. Here’s hoping!
Recently my friend, Leslie, brought me a gift that epitomized this whole experience; a framed map with the saying, “She Believed She Could, So She Did” printed across it. She found it one day and thought it was perfect for me. Even more perfect, Svalbard is on the map! While I did not think I would earn this fellowship the first time I applied, I knew that I would keep trying until I received it. I believed it was possible and what do you know, it is! So, yes, I am a little freaked out, but, no, I am not going to let that stop me. Time to go to “Teacher School” in the Arctic on the National Geographic Explorer!