4:50am and I sat on a suitcase in the driveway, feeling prematurely tender towards the cool mist, the low-blinking buildings, the creaking backdoor I spent four months swinging through. The cab to the bus to the airplane all came and went before sunrise, and I hardly noticed any of it. I felt a giddy, quiet sense of freedom, like I was sneaking out the door after a one-night stand.
I turned twenty-two the next day, sitting in a Waffle House in my hometown. It was 12:15, and all I could do was try to keep my eyes open.
I think back over the year, and have to laugh at all the hair-brained scheming, and the skin-of-my-teeth adventures. I've never felt such intense emotions, never cried so much, never wondered at the world with such depth.
All in all, I'm writing it off as a success. I visited four countries, lived in five different cities, made a handful of new friends that I'll cherish for years to come. I feel more at ease in my own skin, and more comfortable with living in uncertainty.
People have been asking what I'll do next and the answer is so simple: All of it.