In high school I always said that, come college, I would go abroad. Whether it was just the glamor of traveling or the fact that every graduate of my high school seemed to go abroad once he or she reached college, I will never know, but I insisted on making sure whichever school I went to had good programs for abroad opportunities.
Cut to my second year at Holy Cross and I was convinced that going abroad was silly. It seemed a waste of money, a huge time commitment (since Holy Cross programs span an entire year), and no one I was friends with was going.
It wasn’t until I sat down to dinner with my old high school coach/teacher, now current friend, confidant, and preppy extraordinaire, that I even contemplated applying to the program. Olivia convinced me that applying was necessary and I could do all my thinking after. So I did. I applied, wrote the “OMG travel for a year is the chance of a lifetime” standard essay, went through the interview process, and chose my top two sites. I let the cards fall where they may, but I never took the process seriously.
When I got in, I was still iffy. My parents hadn’t said no, but they hadn’t enthusiastically said yes either. I was the homebody… the girl who adores watching movies every night in her PJ’s and used to get homesick on weekends to Cape Cod (a mere two hours away). What if those feelings crept back in? Mommy and Daddy cannot exactly fly across the globe to come bring me home.
So I gathered my options. The classic pro and con list. I like college, I have grown so much through the experience, but I have no real die hard feelings for these four years. Three years of the same parties, classes, teachers, and people gives me everything I need and no fear of missing out. I don’t play on a sports team, belong to a sorority, or have a group of “biddies” I cannot separate from. I am independent, picky about who I be-friend (the loyal, supportive, crazy, sassy type), and constantly craving something different. It became clear that going abroad was always in the cards and it all came back to Olivia saying “just do it”. I have this amazing opportunity that I earned and saying no would only leave regret and the pangs of the dreaded “what if”.
In twenty-seven days I will be on a flight to Galway, Ireland. I am not nervous, anxious, or sad. I have no idea what to expect, but I have learned over the past year that at this age, letting the cards fall usually works out for the best. I am young, fun, and independent and I am about to travel across Europe to meet new people, try new things, and do something for myself that wasn’t orchestrated by my parents or society (not that I don’t appreciate those things) but something I chose and mapped out on my own. Its a leap of faith and for once I am okay with throwing my hat over the wall and not planning every digit.
This little blog will accompany me along the way. I want a record of every site I see, every person I meet, and every feeling I feel. I want to remember the year I dropped every comfort and lived in a different country. I want to remember the year I went off to find me.
St. Augustine once wrote “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”. It has become the mantra of this blog and my upcoming year. So, cheers to many more read pages!