Tag Archives: college

4 months of travel, 2 overweight suitcases, 1 passport.

25 Aug

jones, my sister soulmate, this one’s for you.

IMG_8745

you steady your gaze as the quintessential california landscape coincides with the miles and miles of patriotic interstate beneath you.

IMG_8723

your consciousness weaves amongst the thick layer of chilly sea fog and scattered oak trees and purple-hued wild flowers, all rolling seamlessly over the summer-drenched hills.

with a tight grip on your vacant passport, you realize your dreams are so vivid and curiosity is at your fingertips.

you’re fully aware that you’re about to enrich your life beyond belief.

IMG_7677

and suddenly, your room, in our two-story home, tucked away on our proud little flag lot, warrants an american cliché of sorts.

IMG_7678

you’re filled with every ounce of hesitation and exhilaration, tipping the scale ever so slightly to the later.

but any sort of fleeting moment is, alas, behind you.

IMG_8725

eventually, once you’ve settled in to your everyday routine, leave room for spontaneity.

because i hope that one night, when the mediterranean rain grows heavy outside your new bedroom window, that you race like hell down the narrow staircase out into the cobblestone street and dance barefooted like that beautiful foreigner you are.

and just you watch:

the next four months are going to become a continuity of long bus rides and strong cappuccinos, drippy gelato and wine-stained lips, scenic countrysides and quaint, seaside towns.

IMG_1103

and before you know it, you’ll be returning home with insatiable wanderlust and a longing to do it all again.

so.

don’t fear getting lost. or for that matter, getting embarrassed. i guarantee you’ll be misunderstood, and you’ll automatically be perceived a certain way simply because you are an american. just…embrace it.

there will be certain times when you gotta just roll with the punches. things, inevitably, will not go according to plan. for this exact reason, always have extra euros (and snacks). also, patience is a virtue. whatever predicament you find yourself in will probably make for a hilarious story later.

pack like a boss. overpacking will only get you in frustrating tiffs with ryanair when they scoff at your oversized carry-on. i promise that if you can prioritize your suitcase, you’ll learn the difference between what you actually need…and what you can live without.

frame your study abroad in hundreds of photographs, but widen your lens. put an emphasis on capturing people and their interactions, not things. you’ll actually see life in your photos this way.

you’ll discover that through your travels, humanity is far more diverse than you could possibly imagine. you’ll come across people in all sorts of circumstances, faced with limited rights and poverty and it’ll ignite something inside of you. my hope is that you’ll come home (counting your blessings) and inspired to make a change.

finally, leave pieces of your heart in the destinations you travel to, as well as with the people you meet.

be safe, always.

i love you.

(signed, the post-grad.)

this time, last year: what i would tell my 22-year-old self.

21 May

a few weeks shy of this time last year, i walked across my university’s graduation stage.

i was embarking on the decade synonymous with the assumption: ‘i better have it all figured out. STAT.’

IMG_4359

trust me, if feeling the pressure to ‘have it all figured out’ isn’t an overwhelming sensation…i’m not sure what is.

i told myself i was supposed to have a set plan. and i put a pretty decent amount of pressure on myself to turn that plan into action.

IMG_4347

i think it all started before i even graduated. i felt the need to achieve. academically. professionally. athletically. socially.

to work part-time and take a full load of classes. to be president of my sorority. all at the same time.

to never cheat. and always act ethically. and avoid drinking underage.

IMG_4343

(no, my parents weren’t hard-asses. in fact, they encouraged me to play just as hard as i worked. and they supported me in my endeavors. and intervened when i needed them. and i’ll always be thankful for their guidance. always.)

but if i told you i never cheated and i always acted ethically and i didn’t partake in illegal drinking and experimenting, i’d be lying.

i mean, newsflash: perfection is torturous! and not even SLIGHTLY realistic. so…forget it.

IMG_4406

sure, i was able to create external results during my college years, but it cost me.

do i regret how i spent my time?

no, not entirely. i learned so much, and i’m proud of what i accomplished.

although sometimes i truly asked myself what the f*** i was doing trying to over-extend myself.

but regret is a stupid thing, really. if we spend our whole lives regretting decisions we made in the PAST, well then, we’re living in the past.

duh.

IMG_4366

at any rate, this last year has been challenging, but totally rewarding.

and a lot of fun.

>>>>

so. here are a few things i would tell my 22-year-old self on graduation day:

1. don’t be so hard on yourself, seriously. turn DOWN the volume of your inner-critic.

2. you think it’s soooo motivating to create results. ALL. THE. TIME. but it’s actually completely exhausting. you’re probably doing enough already. really.

3. that do-all! be-all! attitude is incredibly overrated. you will find your purpose. sometimes it’s just a matter of process of elimination.

4. let inspiration be your drive, and let curiosity be your road map. oooh and that was metaphorical of me! and probably just ‘fluff.’ sorry.

5. stop, stop, stop comparing yourself to others. just….stop. you are enough. and people are going to judge you no matter what. what they say is bullshit, until you actually start believing what they say.

6. you know that guy (or girl) that you’re obsessed with wanting to date? don’t force it. it isn’t worth it. if things are meant to be, they’re meant to be. i very much believe that.

7. on that note, you’re going to get over your heartbreak. cry it out. punch something. or someone? take the lessons you learned and move on. you will love and be loved again. that’s life.

8. have a generous heart. that’s how you’ll make a difference in the world.

9. most decisions you’re making are NOT ‘forever’ decisions. choose what feels best right now. these opportunities are a means to an end.

10. and my most recent epiphany: maintain your friendships. they become the family you get to choose.

>>>> and with that, ’tis the season for graduation! GO CELEBRATE.

if i were you, celebrate not having it all figured out.

it’s much more fun that way.

(signed, the post-grad.)

inspired here.