Adventures in Atlanta


Song playing: Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles

Early 2012, I found myself at one of the biggest crossroads of my life. I was given the chance to seek the unknown or have the pleasure of choosing the comfortable. I was at that point in my life where I felt I had nothing else to lose, so I chose to follow the call of uncertainty. That’s how I ended up in Georgia, Atlanta.

It was supposed to be a family vacation. I was in the States to attend the wedding of my cousin with my family. An unexpected turn and twist of events led me to extend my stay while my family flew back home. I guess that’s natural. Taking the call of the uncertain entails a journey without a map or a timetable to follow.

The flight from San Francisco to Hartsfield Jackson Airport was about 7 hours. I spent most of it sleeping but I became nervous as soon as we started to descend. Will I survive with my pocket money? Will I be able to find my way around? Are people going to be friendly? Is this really worth it? Do people really do this?

As I rode the hotel airport shuttle, the driver, Abu, started a conversation with me. “What are you doing here in Atlanta?” I told him what I was going to do there, and he smiled at me and said “Gonna see you on TV someday, eh? Making a difference and all that?”

My time rolled by like a beautiful musical piece. Slow-paced at the beginning and then picking up as it approaches its crescendo. Atlanta is the kind of city that disarms you with its traditional charm. It has a suburban feel to it, yet at the same time it seems to welcome the world with open arms. Its tree-lined roads, cheerful weather and relaxed atmosphere drew me closer as the days passed.

Five days after, I left Atlanta with a heavy heart. I stood outside my hotel waiting for the airport shuttle just to be able to capture the surroundings in my mind. The beautiful pine trees, the 24-degree air with the bright, shining sun and the sound of birds chirping in the distance.

As Abu rolled in and gave his now familiar cheery greeting, I breathed a sigh of relief. I may have doubted my decision to come here, thinking myself foolish for going where I was clueless. The trip made me realize, however, that life is meant to be lived that way – with a beautiful kind of emptiness; the type that allows us to receive more, and know more. Life is meant to challenge us to accept our foolishness so that we can receive more from it.

Had I not gone on this trip, I would have not discovered how much strength I have and how many more possibilities lay awake before me, waiting patiently for me to take notice. It is the place in my memory that I now comfortably go to when I feel I am unable to do something.  I just recall my late night out to find medicine and my crash course with their railway system, and am encouraged that no fear can withstand the power of sheer determination. I truly hope you hold onto your own Atlanta, and never let it go. If you haven’t found your Atlanta yet, don’t wait any longer to find it. Venture. Go. Explore and discover. It is just waiting for you.

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