This Friday I head up to New Jersey, where I'll spend a few days getting to know my fellow volunteers and preparing for my trip.
Perhaps it'll feel real when I'm in the air over the Atlantic, or maybe not until I step off the plane in Belgrade. But it still hasn't sunk in that I'll be spending the next nine months in Serbia: half in Novi Sad, a city north of Belgrade sitting on the Danube, and half in Niš, in the south.
It's been fun to see people's reactions when they hear about my journey. My dad's been having the most fun with it: "Tucker decided to live with gypsies in Eastern Europe instead of going to college." It's true, but not quite like that.
Through Princeton's Bridge Year Program, four other would-be incoming freshmen and I have opted to defer enrollment to instead take a year abroad volunteering. I'll be volunteering with CZOR, a youth empowerment organization, for the first half of my stay, and a yet to be determined NGO working with the Roma for the second half.
I don't think any of us really know what to expect. I certainly don't. And I can hardly wait.