“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
3 years ago, my comfort zone was England. I was terrified of going away without my family. Without the security of having a parent there who could make sure everything was okay if anything went wrong. But luckily, my friends, my family and my other, better half, all pushed me to embrace the unknown and leap into the unfamiliar. And y’know what’s crazy unfamiliar and unknown to a teenager who had been on 3-4 holidays in his entire lifetime? Spending 2 weeks over 5,000 miles away from home with his best friend and boyfriend trying to figure out how to do things on his own.
Our first holiday was to Orlando in search of magic. The thought alone brings back so many gushy memories. We couldn’t drive (not just abroad, but back home too), we had no foresight to research and plan out the holiday before we stepped off the plane onto U.S. soil, and we trusted strangers a lot more than we should’ve. But, figuring out life away from home in America: discovering American food that you can’t get back in England (Chilis, am I right? Or am I right?) and doing all of that while hanging out in such a freakin’ magical place with your best friends? That was the best.
This year, three years on, we returned. We had the foresight to research this time around, figuring out and planning what we wanted to do and where we could do it. We could drive this time too, and that pretty much changed everything. Revisiting places that we’d naively experienced back in 2013- laughing at ourselves for mistakes we’d made, adventures we’d had and bonds we’d strengthened.
Orlando, Florida, is our home away from home now. When the plane landed I had the warm sense of being in the familiar: of being somewhere safe and somewhere secure. And that’s something that I never would’ve experienced if Clare, Scott and I hadn’t spun around excitedly three years ago and made a crazy promise that somehow, some way, we’d get ourselves out of North West England that year, across the Atlantic ocean and into Florida.
This year, when we boarded the plane back home, we left with the promise that we’d be back soon. And when we do, we’ll be home again.