Hey lovely readers!
Today I have a real treat for you, a guest post from the fantastic Sarah who writes over on her blog To Build Books and Castles. I love her blog, she writes beautifully and is pretty hilarious – you should go check out her blog. I hope you enjoy her post!
For me, summer has always meant steamy afternoons, smoothies for every breakfast, and of course that lingering sense that the world has stopped turning. Each day feels the same as the one before, as if everything is repeating in some sort of sultry, lackadaisical Groundhog Day. I can’t help it; I’ve never been a summer person. In fact, summer is the season when my wanderlust is at its lustiness and my heart leaps at the mention of someplace foreign and exotic and new. I’m practically jumping out of my skin to just get out and go.
After spending the first four months of the year studying in England and traveling around Europe, I thought this summer I’d be content to just relax and enjoy a bit of normalcy. But no luck. Of course, it doesn’t help that everyone in the blogosphere seems to be going on their own world adventures lately. Just saying, Sophie’s Paris posts had me combing through every word and picture to capture that feeling of abroad-ness that I’ve been missing since I came back to America. Because really, is there anything better than traveling to new and amazing places?
I have to say, traveling this year has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Okay, okay, I can see you all rolling your eyes from here. I’m sure you’ve heard it before:
Oh, studying abroad has changed my life.
I feel like I’m a whole new person.
Seriously, you just can’t truly know yourself until you’ve spent some time traveling.
In fact, before I left on my trip. I was absolutely positive that I’d come back saying these same clichéd, pretentious things. I’ll admit it, a large part of me expected to “find myself” during my travels. I wanted Europe to help me figure out who the hell I wanted to be, because honestly, I’ve never been quite sure. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that wasn’t my experience at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I don’t think traveling around Europe changed me (although living out of a backpack for five weeks certainly changed my packing priorities). Instead, something better happened.
When everything else was stripped away and it was just me and my backpack and a train ticket, I finally realized that I was already there. Everything I wanted to be but wasn’t sure I could, I already was. It simply took leaving all my friends and family and traveling halfway across the world to show me that I’ve always known who I am, and I’ve always been who I wanted to be.
I think that’s one of the most unsung benefits of traveling. Being forced into unfamiliar and sometimes unsettling places gives you more confidence to just be yourself. I mean, let’s be real; traveling is so exhausting that you don’t have the energy to be anything else. And that’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s just hard to hear yourself over the noise of your everyday life, but take all that away and it’s just you. That’s when you discover what you’re really made of.
So now, in the warmest and most stagnant days of summer, I’m sitting here in my bedroom with no air-conditioning in 90 degree heat (er, 32 for you European folk), pining for the dizzy streets of Prague and the freezing lochs of Scotland and that irresistible sense that I can conquer the world. But you know what? In writing all this down, I’ve realized that I haven’t lost that. I may not be adventuring at the moment, but I still haven’t lost that confidence that I can do anything. And I wonder if perhaps that’s the point of traveling in the first place:
To show yourself that you’re already strong enough to handle it.
And then, of course, there’s the really good food and shopping. But that’s a subject for another post.
I hope you loved this as much as I did!
Do you love to travel?
Have you ever spent long periods abroad?
How do you deal with being out of your comfort zone, does it make you stronger?
I hope you’ve all had a really lovely weekend :-)