The streets of Lima, Peru soon became familiar, like the smell of your mother’s cooking on a Sunday morning. The sweet aromas that awaken the rest of your senses. The sounds of the rush hour traffic, the familiar faces of my fellow commuters at the bus stop, the colors of the paints on the easels of the artists already at work in Kennedy Park.
Somehow, between the churros of breakfast and the mojito after work, I gained confidence. I was able to speak to other people in a foreign tongue. I was able to control and inspire a class of more than 30 students. I made friendships and I explored new places. I danced in streets for neighborhood celebrations and sand boarded down desert dunes.
And suddenly, as the Pacific waves flowed up the pebbly beach to meet my bare feet, I discovered something I never had before.
A love of self.
There was no other person that mattered in that moment. It was me, my thoughts, the cool water on my feet, and the salty air in my lungs. With all the hesitations about leaving on this trip, I soon learned that it was exactly what I needed to grow and learn; not only about the world, but about myself.
The next door would open. The next path would be made clear, but on my first solo trip to teach others, I learned the most important lesson of all.