|Photo by Lauren Davis – check out her amazing blog|
If you had asked me a year ago if I was planning on studying abroad, I’d of said:
“That would be so awesome!! I’d love to! But I’ll probably have to wait to travel until after college when I have a job and money.”
The idea of traveling was sad for me because I wanted to go off places and see things (even inside the US) but was worried about working to pay for college. Before this trip to Paris, I had flown twice in my life and never been away from the mid-east coast (except North Dakota). I’d get really excited about a place.. a road trip, spring break destination, or study abroad location.. and then drop the idea as soon as I looked at the prices. Sometimes I would talk about traveling but I’m one of those people that hates saying I will do something and not going through with it. I wanted to start studying abroad in Canada for as long as I could remember.
But then it all changed…
First the trailer for Eat Pray Love came out, which peaked my interest in traveling again (unfortunately the movie wasn’t as exciting as the trailer). Plus, I could relate to the idea of needing to revitalize myself and my life. 2010 was a hard year for me (but still a good one!) because one thing after another went wrong. Between every electronic device including my laptop to my car dying, I was shelling out money left and right to replace things. I also started paying rent for the first time and found myself beyond busy with work and school, which caused my friendships to suffer. My relationship with Tim was going back over the same annoying, rough patch we’d had a million times before in our relationship. And these problems were different this time because I realized I had become an out-of-touch friend and had no one I felt like I could talk to. Traveling off to another culture where I’d find myself challenged to depend on myself in new ways was just what I needed to do. If I can’t love and appreciate myself, who can, right?
Second, the world cup and all it’s hype was getting me really excited about the idea of visiting other countries and cultures. The energy around the event was so high and it made me want to go do something, visit the world.
Third, one of my best friends, Kara, was studying in Spain for the month of July. She even did a week in Paris. The pictures, the stories, just everything about it made me so jealous. And not even in a bad way, I was so envious of her opportunity. What better way to gauge what you want then jealousy? I listened to her stories and went to work one morning thinking, “This is it… I’m going abroad.”
|Photo by Lauren Davis|
And I’m the kind of person where once I decide I am going to do something, there is an almost certain chance that I will make that something happen. I will make sure I can make something work, and that is exactly what I did. Most people who study abroad have been planning it since their freshman or sophomore year of college, but since I made the decision a few weeks before junior year I had to fast-track my plans. It was a daunting task: I had to create a budget, find a program that fit that budget, write 8 essays for said program, attend 2 advisement meetings with the Study Abroad office, fit my graduation requirements around study abroad and fulfill a slew of stupid paperwork associated with living and traveling abroad (insurance, passport, visa, medical exams, etc).
I can’t explain the excitement I still feel every time I think, “I am living in Paris. I am traveling around Europe!” I am sure the Frenchies think I am a weirdo because I break into the biggest smile and practically skip down the streets. But honestly, it’s surreal. I keep saying, “This is not real life!” but that’s the thing it is, and it’s mine! 🙂
Go chase your dreams and don’t let anything get in between you and where you want to be! Sorry for the especially cheesy post today, hope you enjoy it anyway. Oh, and the layout changes too!
Bonne soirree! xoxo.