October 9th, 2017
I did it! I graduated! So… now what?
Conventional expectations and scarce funds will force most of us to either pursue a desk job or work part time at every restaurant in town as we attempt to tackle student debts. For some, health benefits and a consistent salary make this a no-brainer decision.
But those unable to suppress their nomadic desires... well, we find ourselves in some of the most remarkable places.
I knew I needed to explore more of the world once I had the time and resources to do so. Working four part time jobs, studying for my last ever final exams, and packing my entire life to move into mom’s garage finally paid off when I received that confirmation email with my one way ticket abroad.
My journey became all the more real when I spotted the fuchsia WOW airplane from terminal B at the Boston Logan International Airport.
With three pairs of socks on, my pockets filled with my heaviest belongings, and my boarding pass in hand, my weight-approved luggage and I set off on our incredible journey to Wales.
Rewind two years and I find myself in this very same position. Only I am on a much more expensive airline, with about three times the amount of luggage, and still believing the euro is the only currency used in Europe.
My first journey to the UK was made possible by my university’s student-exchange program. I was to “study” abroad for the fall semester of my sophomore year. It’s a close one, but I think I visited more countries than lectures (sorry mom!).
I did pass all my courses that semester; however, I genuinely learned the most as a result of my travels and interactions with people most different from me. I drank more tea in those months than I have in my entire life. I learned how to navigate bus and train routes and convert pound to dollar prices without the help of my iPhone app.
During that semester spent discovering places I‘d only seen in textbooks, my world became even larger. Instead of feeling lesser in this enormous domain, I became surer of myself.
The cliché, “travel to find yourself” was never a reason for my exploration. I’ve always known who I am. Travelling; however, has taught me more about who I want to be.
Deciding to return to Wales after graduation wasn’t because I missed the rainy weather the UK never failed to deliver. It wasn’t because I needed an escape or a fresh start. Wales had become a second home to me. And while I had plans to travel to several other places outside of the United Kingdom, this home away from home was the perfect stopping ground for an adventurous college graduate.
So despite my family’s pleas to get a job in the states and begin my constricted battle up the corporate ladder, I spent the summer hiking over new terrain and creating memorable relationships.
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