perspectives abroad

It is absolutely impossible for me to sit here at my computer and put into words the multitude of beautiful moments and emotions that have made up my experience while studying abroad in the United Kingdom. Instead, I will attempt to explain what it is about some of the little things that are changing me, introducing me to pieces of myself that I didn’t know existed, and why there is no better way to process than to travel.

I am sitting alone in my shared dorm at Regent’s University London with a smile stretched so wide across my face it hurts. In my mind, I am replaying the many miles of walking through London streets, the gorgeous, warm and engulfing feeling of meeting new people, and the colors and sounds of the city that are so vibrant I can practically taste them on my tongue. I have stood in the middle of a Scottish forest and felt so much wanderlust I didn’t know whether I was going to laugh or cry. I have talked to 4:00 a.m. Uber drivers about their families, their favorite foods, and whether or not they believe in Brexit. I sit next to people in my classes whose lives are so different from my own that we might as well be from different planets, yet we are able to discuss our perspectives on complex social issues without skipping a beat.

My experience of being abroad is a captivating conglomeration of tiny moments that have left me both filled to the brim with happiness, and starving for more. I truly wish that everyone could have the experience of living, learning, and growing at such a rapid (and slightly uncomfortable) pace.

I feel like I am just scratching the surface of my life, and yet I’m already so filled with the experiences I have had over the past two months, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to fit any more in. I was sitting on a train from Wales to London last week, and at every single stop I watched people reuniting and parting: friends practically knocking each other over with hugs so big you would have thought they’d been apart for years, grandparents saying teary goodbyes to their families, a young woman running after the train with tears running down her cheeks, people standing on the platform watching and waving until the train was out of sight, couples kissing as if they wouldn’t see each other again for a long, long time.

I sat in my seat and watched it all transpire. The reunions made me smile, the goodbyes practically brought me to tears. There was so much meaning in each moment I could hardly process it all. I often like to make up stories about the people around me when I travel. I want to know where people come from and where they are going. I want to know their dreams, their experiences, their triumphs, and their failures.

I am fascinated by travel, and people, and by the little moments that add up and change me bit by bit. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be in a new place, and to have the chance to appreciate all of the experiences that will become part of me. The world is a huge place, and I want to see it all – one little moment at a time.

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