I’m finally going to do it. After years of saying I want to join the peace corps, I finally downloaded and printed out the application tonight. My plan is to leave in August 2006 – as soon as I get back from saving the sea turtles.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past few days and I even had a little bit of a freak out yesterday because I realized if I join then I’ll be 28 when I get back from wherever they send me and then what will I do? Will I be able to just pick up my journalism career where I left off? Or, even scarier, will I have found something more fulfilling that I’ll want to do with my life? Will I have to start from square one? Will I decide to go back to school? Will I be able to afford my bills while I’m gone? Will I be able to survive in a third world country? What if I get some horrible disease? What if I can’t find a job when I get home? What if no one wants to hire me after I’ve been out of work for two years? And the list of questions went on from there.

But that’s when I knew I had to do it. The only thing that keeps us from fulfilling our dreams or from doing anything really is fear of the unknown, fear that we won’t succeed, fear that we are making a mistake. I have always been one not to let fear control my life, and I’m not about to start now. Yes, I’ll be 28 when I get back, but is that really so old? And yes, Africa is a scary place, but the experience I will gain there will be well worth living with paranoia over disease and my skin color. Maybe I won’t have the dream reporter position. Maybe I won’t make millions of dollars in the end. Maybe I’ll never become a travel writer. But then that could all happen even if I stayed here, right?

For the first time in my life I have nothing tying me down and nothing holding me back. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m not about to let it pass me by.

I have to admit though I’ve never been so excited or scared in my life to fill out an application. My only fear now is that I won’t get accepted…