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Chapter One: Big Plans
Suitcases, packed and ready? Check.
Extra long, good bye hug with Best friend? Check, Check, and Check.
“Ellie”, I say to myself, “You are finally ready, to explore the seven continents. Ready or not world, here I come!”
I am Eleanor Grace. World explorer extraordinaire, and Oscar-winning actress.
Ok ok, so I hadn’t won an Oscar yet…but I planned to. You can do anything, if you just believed, right? As for world explorer, I would be after this trip. This trip around the world was exactly the inspiration I needed, as a rising superstar. Time to do some soul searching, greet new adventures, and maybe even learn a few things?
This trip around the world was my parents’ gift to me, on my twenty-first birthday. Seems a little extravagant, for a twenty-one year old? Don’t blame them. I was the one who asked for it.
You see that my parents were top-notch successful lawyers, who made up for their absences with lavish gifts, and unfortunately, even more lavish excuses. In a lawyer’s world, time was money, and every minute was worth many $$$, so they had very little time to spare. Luckily for me, the bigger their absence, the greater went up my price tag. Unfair of me, you might say? Well, to be fair, I was their only daughter. I might add…I also inherited the gift of strong negotiation, and intense bargaining, from them.
How did I do it? You should know that almost everything in life, is negotiable. The secret is how to ask for it. My strategy went by understanding what the other side wanted. Next, I figured out how to get what I wanted, and made it seem like the other side was winning. Lastly, I was ready to walk away, and at this vulnerable point, the other side would most likely strike a bargain. To be extra successful: Rinse and repeat, until you emerged victorious from your battle.
I knew that my parents didn’t mind, in fact, they encouraged my take charge attitude. It made them proud, when I stood my ground… even brought a tear of joy, to their normally, steely and unreadable, eyes. I would grow up to be just like them, maybe even a magnified version of them, if it weren’t for Cassie.
Cassie was the only one who humbled me, stopped me from being a spoiled, entitled diva, and brought me back down to earth. She kept me balanced.
Cassandra Grace, or Cassie as I called her with love, was my best friend, in the entire world. My opposite in every sense of the word, and I wouldn’t have changed her for anything, or anyone. It was especially hard saying goodbye to her, seeing that I wouldn’t see her in person for about a year, as I went on my big trip. We were also roommates, living in the same apartment for a few years, ever since we both dropped out of High School together.
Yes, you heard right. We both dropped out of High School together, deliberately. My negotiation skills almost came to a breaking point, but I managed to convince both our parents, to let us take charge of the direction of our lives, as independent (almost) adults, for a few years. I mean we were only seventeen then. “What if we failed spectacularly?”, our parents asked. “Then, we would go back to schooling, and university”, I said.
I wouldn’t had been so brave, if Cassie wasn’t there by my side. Cassie didn’t realize this, but I couldn’t have done it alone. You see, she saw me as invincible, and always 100% sure, of my path. Her believing it so, made it true, and gave me that strength.
In terms of our outer appearance, we looked quite different. I was blonde and fair with blue eyes, while she had mysterious green eyes, and even more captivating dark, wavy tresses. It was hard to get many sentences out of her, but when she did say something, it was poetry…it was Shakespeare…it was a siren’s song…it was eloquant, and spell-binding. The great irony was that she remained unaware of her powers. I am sure there will be a time in the future, when she will recognize her divinely given gift of words, and mesmerize the world as a writer.
Right now, she didn’t even know what she wanted to do. I mean it was so obvious to everyone else! Sigh. I love her to bits.
You would never find me stuck in analysis paralysis, and overthinking, once I made a choice. I knew my choices wouldn’t always be perfect, but I also knew, that I would be ok, with whatever happened. Risk was a part of life, and without it, you can’t spell adventure. That was a bit poetic, wasn’t it? I guess all that poetry from Cassie was rubbing off on me, though I can confidently say, that her most daring adventures, were confined to the pages of the books she reads.
Anyways, moving on to the story, so why did I decide to go on this crazy adventure? Although, I had managed to snag a few acting roles here and there, I hadn’t come across major, critically acclaimed, level roles. I wanted to be known as more than the pretty girl in the soda ad, or the one time hit, action movie star. I was grateful for the success that I had experienced so far, but I wanted directors to take me seriously, and consider me for challenging roles. I think that being a world-class traveller, would help get me that edge, that gravitas, and certain je ne se quoi, non?
Did I tell you that I have a talent for languages? On my bucket list for this trip, was to learn more languages, especially hone up on my spanish…in Spain, and Mexico, Italian in Italy, a little French would be good….as well as Japanese? Pinch me, I feel like I must be dreaming. This is exciting! I truly couldn’t wait to start this trip….