The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Francis Guillen Diaz

Hello stranger,

You already know my name and, if you’ve kept up with the press releases from the Campus Y, you also know where I’m from and what activities I participated in while in high school. Feels strange that you know that information yet have never met me, no?

If it feels strange, you, and quite frankly I, should become accustomed to that feeling because throughout the upcoming nine months (if my money lasts that long lol) you’re going to be my one-way pen pal of sorts. And for those of you who don’t find it strange, you’ve either, like me, grown up with social media and are used to knowing everything about everyone, or have stalker tendencies and enjoy learning about strangers. Please keep in mind that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Enough of that though, let’s get to the good stuff. It’s Monday, August 19th, and I’m finally on my way to Rio De Janeiro, fueled by three hours of sleep and countless single-serve packs of trail mix from Aldi, and in the spirit of keeping it real, the trail mix is the only thing keeping me going. I’ve traveled internationally a lot; I’m from the Dominican Republic so I travel back and forth from there regularly, and spent my 11th grade year in Dakar, Senegal. So, I don’t think it’s the traveling that’s making me nervous.

I honestly don’t know why I’m nervous, I just know that I am. Maybe it’s that in a week I’ll be teaching math in Portuguese, but I currently speak very little Portuguese; maybe it’s that tomorrow at 5 AM I’ll land in Rio and still don’t know if there will be someone there to pick me up; or maybe it’s that for the next eight months I’m on a tight budget, yet have four very tempting cards in my wallet begging to be swiped.

I don’t know why I’m nervous, but I do know one thing: Nervousness is life’s way of letting you down, in a good way. Hear me out. Right now, I’m nervous and preparing for the worst, which in my case would be death via cartel. But what’ll most likely happen is that I’ll land in Rio… and be perfectly fine. I will have worried and mentally prepared for the worst, all for nothing. I will be let down, in a good way.

So, here’s to being let down. I hope I’m let down so hard that I crack the cold tile floor I imagine will be in my new (to me) home in Rio.

Until next month,
Francis G. Guillen Diaz