13 November 2015

Travel's Gifts to Me // English Class

  Few people are lucky enough to have flown thousands of miles in before their first birthday but I was born into a charmed existence and became a worldwide traveler even before I was born. Ever since then, I've been lucky enough to spend at least a month each year away from home but I've only recently realized how much I've taken my adventures for granted. Most of the time I revisit the same places and at this point they've I've become far too passive - even a place with the familiarity of a second home is worth keeping my eyes open for but I'm only now realizing this. 

I am almost three months into my year abroad - my greatest adventure yet - and I worry that I'll allow myself to fall into the same trap again. It took me some time and a very odd situation to even acknowledge this possibility : I've never been fond of surprises and I think I'm not alone when I say I hate making mistakes but I've found that my new home is full of opportunities for both. My most rewarding experience so far was a combination of the two - missing the bus and then realizing the sensation wasn't all that unpleasant.

An odd sort of entrapment occurred when you miss your bus. You can't go anywhere but at the same time you have nothing to do because you were all prepared and planning to do something else. I found myself sitting on a bench for fifteen minutes with nothing to do other than think about my new life, family and friends. Certainly not the most comfortable, of experiences but certainly enriching. I thought about the characters in my daily life and the strength and speed of the bonds I have already formed surprised me yet again and then made me think about how much I'm missing out on in my former life. But for me, the most bizarre part of the experience were the minutes I spent thinking about myself. Self centered, I know, but as I tried to compare current me to pre-travel me I realized some surprising things about myself.

I've always been intrigued by how other people would describe me, simply out of curiosity, but I've come to accept that I'll probably never know. I do however know how they interact with me directly. My empty time at the bus stop gave me time to compare my friendships in the US to those here and it made me realize where I've changed and where I've stayed the same. Some things are superficial, like my new found ability to wear something other than pajamas when I get dressed in the morning, but others scared me a bit. I realized that elements of my character - me, myself and I - had changed. Leaving "home" caused the changes and then gave me the perception to see them. In all honesty, it was a bit frightening.

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