My destination for day one is DiMillos Marina in Portland. Leaving from Robinhood Marine Center in Georgetown, where I worked during summer, I plotted a course that runs 36 miles to Portland.

After the months of planning and many hours of work I’m setting out on the first leg of my journey. I feel both empowered and, to be honest, a little terrified.

Only a month ago I moved out of my mom’s house, yet here I am setting off for another country. You’ve heard it before – a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But no one ever told me how scary that step could be. (Or maybe they did and I just didn’t listen.) As scary as it is, I am thrilled to be starting my own life.

I hope that this trip is an opportunity to solidify myself as a person through hardships and, hopefully, successes. I decided to make this trip solo, not from lack of offers to accompany me as crew, but because of a desire to prove to myself that I can do what I want with my life. That being the underlying motivator for me, there are thousands of other things to be excited for. Taking the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) south will show me parts of my country that I’ve never seen before, from the people and cultures to wildlife and topography. In the course of this trip, I hope to learn some Bahamian ways and meet cruisers from across the globe. This is an opportunity, as is everything in life, to make long lasting connections and friendships with all types of people.

So even though I’m nervous I know I need to push my fears aside and, as they say, sally forth.

And today, with just a few dozen miles behind me from where I set out at Robinhood Marine Center, I swear the breeze feels warmer and the water looks suspiciously clearer.