Thursday, 8 March 2012

Oh, The Places You'll Go

In honor of March being the month of two of the most important birthdays in literary history--Dr. Suess' and my own (of course) I've given this post a nice Suess-ian title. It also happens to be an incredibly relevant one.

By now, we're more than halfway through the semester and we've all got a lot of traveling under our belts. I'd even like to think I'm starting to understand the things I never thought I would--how to properly purchase a train ticket, how to book flights with Ryanair, and how to pack light enough to get ON said flights with Ryanair. I'm even getting the hang of the constant activity involved with jetting off to other countries or far off cities every weekend.

In front of the Roman Baths
It's still so difficult to believe the opportunities I've had when it comes to travel this semester. Already I've been to Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. I've gone to countless cities in England, including London, Bath, Nottingham, and Stratford Upon Avon. Just today we hopped in a shuttle and drove off for the D.H Lawrence birthplace museum for a little weekend field trip. It's amazing what simply being in another country can inspire you to do.

In just a few short months, I've had a world of firsts--my first time on a plane, my first time on a train, and my first time leaving the United States. I've seen things that, a few years back, I would never have imagined. I've seen Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, the Roman Baths, countless castles and cathedrals and things older than I ever could have imagined.

But as I'm learning, traveling isn't just about what you see, hear, eat, and occasionally touch. It's also about learning a new way to relate to the world around you. It's about talking to people in shops, in pubs, on the street. It's about getting to know the people you travel with in a completely different way than you get to know people on a day to day basis. It's about taking things slow, spending days at a time off the internet, and getting to know the sound of your own thoughts as you experience a world of firsts.

Chilling with Falstaff in Stratford Upon Avon
I've seen a lot of things. I've been a lot of places. And there's so much more on ahead--this weekend, I'm heading to Germany, where my friend and fellow blogger Gina will be the only one of us who speaks German. The weekend after that, I'm going to turn 20 in London, of all places! After that, I'm flying to Spain to see how much good those high school and freshmen year Spanish lessons will do me. Maybe I should have given myself time to stop and breathe and take a weekend off in the manor, but if I've learned anything thus far, it's that I love going to new places, seeing new things, and yes, even meeting new people.

Those elementary and middle school teachers who said I needed to "come out of my shell" would probably be shocked if they could see me now, and I'm genuinely loving every minute of it. No, it doesn't always go smoothly, but it's always an adventure and I can tell I'm going to be a lot more independent from now on. When it gets down to it, going places doesn't just teach you about those places--it teaches you a little bit about yourself, too.

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