I knew I’d be nervous for my first solo, international trip, but I had no idea how bad it would get. I spent the entire seven hour flight—from Philadelphia to London—fighting the shakes, breathing through waves of anxiety, and trying to convince myself that it wasn’t a huge mistake.
Things didn’t improve much when we touched down. I mindlessly followed passengers towards customs, where I was quizzed about my travel plans and employment status back home. The customs officer never cracked, never smiled. She slammed my first stamp into my first passport and wished me a good day. I scampered off to the first bathroom I could find. I took my time trying to collect myself and prepare for a world of unknowns.