The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Nancy Alvarez Lopez.

Never-ending boring routine. That has been my life for the past 18 years. Growing up in a small rural town my life has been uneventful. Go to school, go to work, go home. Consumed by a routine that made me unhappy and unmotivated. I often found myself thinking, “what if…” “if only…” these two phrases were always on my mind. “What if I just completely went off-grid and started a new life, a whole new world.” The thought made my heart flutter. My eyes became smaller as I unconsciously was smiling from ear to ear. Back then, the idea was impossible. Now, in just a few days, I’ll be doing just that.

When I heard I received the Global Gap Year Fellowship, I was in disbelief. I had never thought about taking a gap year. In fact, I remember saying I would never take one. Funny how things work out. I had a lot of doubts and worries. Will taking a gap year push me behind? Can and will I be able to do my own thing without a structured routine? Many thoughts poured out. My mind was clouded. I couldn’t think clearly, mainly because I was afraid. Afraid that I would fail at whatever I decided to do. The more I thought about this life-changing decision, the more hesitant I became. I knew I needed a new life, so to say. I blocked out my mind and listened to my heart.

Accepting the gap year fellowship came with hesitation. I am a very indecisive person. Not because I can’t make up my mind but because I don’t have confidence in myself. If I’m out with a friend and they decide where to go, where to eat, and what to do, perfect, I’ll follow. But that is not a good mindset to have. I should lead my own life, my own choices that will make my achievements even better. That is why this gap year is a lifeline for me. I do not merely want to survive. I want to thrive.
Arriving at my first placement in a few days, I feel as if I flipped the page of my monotonous book and started a new chapter. I will be staying with my family while in Phoenix, Arizona. I plan on interning at a law firm in hopes of better understanding my passion for immigration law. Afterward, I plan on making connections with Workaway. I will be staying in Washington State and then making my way to Oahu, Hawaii. No matter what happens, I know that taking this gap year was a necessary step in my life. There will be unexpected events, plans that will fail, and new doors opening. I will no longer be living in my boring routine because life begins at the end of my comfort zone.