"If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been."


Change. It's absolutely terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.

Two weeks and two days ago, I embarked on the biggest adventure of my life. And it’s already been the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done.

But the day before I left, I was terrified. I even procrastinated packing because that meant that I was leaving, and I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave my amazing family. I didn’t want to leave my house. I didn’t want to leave my friends. I didn’t want to leave my bubble. My sweet dad came in my room and saw that I was an absolutely wreck. And he said:
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” [J.R.R. Tolkien]
This quote stayed with me all night, as I packed into the wee hours of the morning.

Tuesday was even worse. I was an emotional wreck the entire day. I couldn’t stop reminding myself that I was leaving in T-Minus 5 hours to travel across the country. By myself.
Naturally, I spent the day fighting aliens on Mars with my three year old best friend Juju, cuddling with my 7 month old sissy Chubbs, and watching the season finale of Once Upon a Time with my teenage bestie Tornado… And finally the time came. I had to say goodbye.  

But saying goodbye was too hard…. So instead I said “See you soon.” And of course, a lot of I love you’s.

Driving to the airport was hard. I sat in a pool of silent tears for the entire way, dreading taking that first step.

Finally the time came to say “see you soon” to my two best friends in the whole world. These two amazing people have raised, mentored, loved, and supported me through it all, and now is my time to prove to them that they did a good job.
After hugging my parents at the Security gate, I shouldered my backpack and looked at their smiling faces.
“Be good, Bilbo.” My dad said.
And I laughed and said “There and back again.”
And I turned and took the first step away from my parents and on to my adventure.

And then I took another step.

The next 2 days were a blur, filled with new faces, lots of paperwork, and no sleep. And my smile never left my face.

Orlando is absolutely amazing. It’s sticky and humid, but it’s also warm and gorgeous. Instead of mountains, there are palm trees everywhere I look and a river runs through everything. Squirrels are overly- friendly, and lizards run across your toes with each step. Oh, and I’ve even started working on my tan.

I have seven AMAZING roommates, who have already become some of my best friends. It’s awesome how close we’ve come in only two weeks. They are super supportive and even offer me rides to church and work when I can’t find one. And also, they like to surprise me with treats like strawberry shortcake. They are seriously great girls and I am blessed to be living with them. They take such good care of me. J

The job, on the other hand, is far more stressful than I expected. After two weeks of intense training, I passed all my assessments and am now a certified Deep lifeguard at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. I’ve been keeping busy with crazy hours, averaging 42 hours per week. This coming week however, I am schedule for about 52 hours, not including breaks.
But despite working so much, I’ve had many Magical Moments so far.
I’ve been to Magic Kingdom about five times and every other park once.
I had lunch underneath Cinderella’s castle with Tinkerbell and Tiana.
I’ve seen Disney’s Wishes firework show three times, and I cry every time.
I've sung along to Maroon Five at the top of my lungs underneath Tomorrowland.
I high-five Lilo and hug Stitch on a regular basis.
I get paid to swim with sharks.
....just to name a few.

This place is most definitely the most Magical place on Earth.

The thing that I love the most about this Disney College Program is that everyone else is just as enthusiastic about Disney as I am. It’s perfectly okay to quote Disney in everyday language. It’s perfectly normal to blare Disney as you’re getting ready every morning. It’s perfectly acceptable to burst into song whenever you feel like it. No matter how different we may be, we always have one thing in common: Disney.
And because we believe in Disney, we believe in dreams. We believe in each other. We believe in magic. And I love it.

As my boss, Mickey Mouse, would say: “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them!”

My dear friends, it will be hard. Taking that first step was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. But I did it. And I’m still doing it.
My friends, you can do hard things. And you will get stronger because of it. Don’t be afraid to dream. Don’t be afraid to imagine. Don’t be afraid to believe.

 Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!

Mischief Managed.


P.S. Brownie points to the first person to name the Character who said the title of this post. ;)

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  1. Samwise Gamgee!!!!! I win!

  2. That day before you left, I stepped outside for a minute and saw you playing aliens in the backyard. It was awesome, and it made me smile. :)
    I am glad you are having a good time. Disney is the perfect place for you to be working!

  3. Your post made me SO happy! I'm so glad you're having a grand adventure. And do you really swim with SHARKS????