The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Taylor Molina.

The hardest part of writing anything for me is the beginning of it. Introduction paragraphs may be the death of me because I write too many of them. One essay will have at least four introductions because I write until it feels, well… right. It needs to have the right hook, or the right tone, or the right flow. I can sit down for an hour writing the intro alone and after that is done, the rest of the paper can be finished in less time. I just need it to start right.

On the topic of “starting right” – most people would not think my Global Gap Year Fellowship experience started out right. I mean, I was in an airport for around eight hours and then it took another 45 minutes to get my bag because they forgot to take the luggage off the plane. My mom was freaking out, posting around 20 times a minute on Facebook about everything from home and yet, I think I was the happiest person on the whole plane. It made my Type A personality stop in its tracks. I was relaxed and never once got irritated at the amount of time it took. I read, played some games, and practiced Rosetta Stone (as any good gapper would). When I finally walked out of the airport, I could not stop smiling; I don’t think I could have been happier to be in North Carolina. I knew that the real, right start was to come.

The “masterpieces”

I had to make poor Keara, a Global Gap Year Fellowship intern, wait to pick me up and when she did, I was greeted by licks from Bug, her dog, and a smiling face. We laughed the whole ride to get food and then finally to school where I told her all my weird Uber stories on the way. As if I did not feel welcome enough, I went upstairs expecting no one to be in the room. To my surprise, when I walked in, there were seven people waiting for me all saying, “Oh, you’re the girl who was delayed a lot, right?” We talked for hours – starting with me having to do two truths and a lie, when everyone was shocked to learn I never had Coca Cola before. By the end of the night, I’d made two watercolor “masterpieces” and some incredible friends.

So, I really got the best introduction to a gap year anyone could ever want. There was pretty much nothing I could have expected from the introduction I got, but I would not have written it any other way if I could. So yes, it is daunting to embark on an eight-month journey, but I know now more than ever that I am not alone and I never will be.

That family I was talking about.