Finding Comfort in Not Knowing What to Expect


So today is the day! I’m flying 20+ hours to Colombo, Sri Lanka. My peers, co-workers, and family have all asked me if I’m ready and if I feel prepared. But then I ask myself, can you really prepare yourself for something where you have no idea what to expect? These past few weeks, I’ve been going through finals and working almost 30 hours a week, and I’ve found myself asking the same questions “Am I ready?” and “Do I feel prepared?”

As I was checking my bags in, the flight attendant looks at my itinerary and says to me, “Colombo? Interesting.”

I said, “What do you mean?” And he replies, “That’s just never somewhere I would want to go. It’s never been on my list.”

Honestly I was surprised by his bluntness, but as I think about it and am 100% honest with myself, this wasn’t a country or place that had been on my list up until 6 months ago. When I heard about Greenheart Travel’s volunteer program working with elephants and wildlife in a national park in Sri Lanka (and having had previous experience with elephants in Thailand while I participated in Greenheart Travel’s seasonal internship in Thailand), I just couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to go abroad again.

While I am nervous, exhilarated, and frankly just excited, let me tell you the top 5 reasons why I want to go to Sri Lanka:

  1. Being outside: I made it a goal of mine to find something beautiful in nature everyday. I can thank my roommate for this idea, but as an environmental student at DePaul and having a infinite passion for nature and wildlife, I found it quite suiting.
  2. Traveling: Ever since Thailand, I caught the travel bug. Experiencing a completely different culture is something that can’t be explained or taught. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this vast and diverse world that I call home.
  3. Elephants: They are so powerful, so full of wisdom and strength. It’s inexplicable to be in their presence up close. Wasgamuwa National Park is known as the country’s largest wildlife sanctuary where large herds of elephants roam and travel.
  4. My education and professional career: Opportunities such as these will give me many lessons and it will teach me more about conservation and wildlife. This trip will not only look amazing on my resume, but it will take me to a whole new level that can’t be taught in any classroom.
  5. Serendipity: I have no idea what to expect, what it will look like, feel like, smell like, and how I’ll feel. The concept of serendipity is one of my favorites, as they are often the best memories in life.

So maybe I’m not ready, maybe I have no idea what to expect or what to make of it. But it’s these insecurities that I happen to find myself comforted. I learned in Thailand that the best things in life come from unplanned and unexpected situations. I’m really looking forward to my moments of serendipity in Sri Lanka.


2 thoughts on "Finding Comfort in Not Knowing What to Expect"

  1. Monica Sch says:

    Hi Shannon! Nice to meet you last week! Cannot wait to read all about your future adventures!

  2. Rose says:

    Shannon, keep up the good work. Your Mom is keeping us all up to date with your travels. Best of Luck to you and stay SAFE.
    Rose P.

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