People Get Ready

“People get ready, there’s a train a comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord,
oh yes we just thank the Lord…”
 People Get Ready, Aretha Franklin (cover)


The moment of truth is finally here. In 4 hours, I will be on my flight to Istanbul. The last week has been an emotional one, filled with the joy of spending time with friends but also the sorrow of saying goodbye. The past few years in Boston was the first time in my life I’ve felt like part of a community with the most wonderful friends in the world and it is hard to leave.

I had and still have my doubts and fears. Was this the right time? Should I have waited another year–so that I could have gained another year of work experience, or waited until my friends also had time off? When it became clear that I would be traveling alone on this trip, I was very afraid for myself traveling solo as a woman.

But in the end, I decided, if it wasn’t now, when would it be? If I waited another year, would something else have come up that would thwart my plans? I had been dreaming about this trip for 3 years now, and if it was going to happen, now is the better than living in anticipation, and now is better than never.

As for traveling solo, I thought about the women that inspire me: Annie Londonderry – who cycled around the world in 1896 starting from the Boston State House on a Penny Farthing; Alexandra David-Neel – who spent her life traveling through Tibet in the 1800s; Freya Stark, a British writer who traveled throughout the Middle East and published many travel accounts; and Yuki – a Japanese women who motorbiked solo from Japan to South Africa and whom I met in Kenya. I also promised myself that I would stop and come home if I ever felt unsafe or my gut told me to stop.

With the journey looming over me, I remember the words of my favorite poem:

Be grateful for freedom to see other dreams
Bless your loneliness as much as you drank of your former companionships
All that you are experiencing now will become moods of future joys
So bless it all.
 Time is now a gift for you
 A gift of freedom
To think and remember and understand
The ever perplexing past
And to re-create yourself anew
In order to transform time. 
Live while you are alive
Learn the ways of silence and wisdom
Learn to act, learn a new speech
Learn to be what you are in the seed of your spirit
Learn to free yourself from all things that have moulded you
And which limit your secret and undiscovered road.
Fear not, but be full of light and love
Fear not but be alert and receptive
Fear not but act decisively when you should
Fear not but know when to stop
Fear not for you are loved by me
Fear not for death is not the real terror
But life–magically–is.
So fear not, my friend
The darkness is gentler than you think
Be grateful for life as you live it
And may a wonderful light always guide you on the unfolding road.
To an English Friend in Africa
by Ben Okri



7 Thoughts on “People Get Ready

  1. Luvena on April 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm said:


  2. John Bunzick on April 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm said:

    I am very impressed that you are undertaking this journey! I’ll be watching your progress, along with other SMMA Toastmasters, too, no doubt.

  3. Hi Minnie!!

    Can’t wait to see all the things that you will be seeing and learning on your amazing adventure!! You will be in my thoughts& prayers! let me know if you need help with anything!!!


  4. Barbara Black on April 11, 2013 at 12:00 am said:

    MinRawr! I am so proud of you! You will be in my thoughts and prayers while on your fantastic journey…get it Girl!

  5. Adam Friedman on April 11, 2013 at 3:08 am said:

    What a beautiful self-send-off! I’m inspired by that poem, and by you!

  6. Julia on April 11, 2013 at 8:39 am said:

    Good luck, MinWah! It’s going to be an amazing, challenging, wonderful experience, and I look forward to reading about it as you go along! Go you!

  7. Kris Brewer on April 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm said:

    Woohoo! Try not to pick up too many strange looking hitchhikers ;)

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