If you' ve never spent time aboard, you may not get this post. If you have, I hope you tell me you relate to this post because I'm not sure if these feelings I'm having are normal.
I haven't blogged about or posted pictures from most of my trips I took while studying abroad. One reason is because I really want to write a good travel-article-type posts and am drafting those now. However, the main reason I haven't is because it makes me melancholy to think about those days in far off cities with people I don't see anymore.
Many people have asked me why I went, why I applied to leave home and all familiarity for nearly 4 months. I really struggle to answer that. I struggle to find a meaning to those 110 days. What was the purpose? What do I have to show from it?
Some nights, all I have to show for it is sitting alone in my apartment and wondering what my friends are doing, where they are, and if it all really happened. Those nights, I fight off the thought that I just fell asleep on September seventh and had a long dream. Those nights, I pour over my post cards and maps and travel log to remind myself it was real. I lay them out across my table and run my hands over the streets I walked, hold the post cards up to the window pretending it's my view, read over and over what I did in every city. Was it real? Did it happen? What was the point?
I'm honestly still working on that last question. I don't know that I'll ever have that answer.
For now, I operate under the thought that my crazy adventure made me grow up. It turned me into a more confident young woman. It's my point of reference for what I can do; if I can figure out how to get from Wales to Switzerland for less that $40.00 on my own, I can do anything. If I can survive a day in the Brussels train station with five euros to my name, I can do anything. If I can handle living with seven of the coolest but most extremely different people, I can do anything. If I can muster up the courage to wave goodbye to my parents at security, I can do anything. I can do anything. If I learned nothing else in 110 days, I learned that I can do anything.
My parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, friends, encouraging children's books, have always told me I can do anything. And I guess I always believed them in theory, but I never experienced it in practice. I suppose you have to do something to realize that you can do anything.