This could be the story of a trip. Very easily, I could record the details of any one of the adventures I’ve embarked on recently, a few days spent in Dublin or a weekend in Geneva, maybe the details of a day-in-the-life Sevillian or my plans for my fast approaching journey home. This could be that story, but it’s not. This is not the story of a journey to here or a trip to there. This particular story began earlier than September, before I left for Spain, earlier even than last May, when I boarded my first international flight and left for Costa Rica. It began before all those meetings with the study abroad office, before I applied to the ISP program my freshman year, hell, this story started before all those tiny little moments came to pass.
So this particular story is old, but familiar, and so many times lost amidst the incredible, photographable, and dazzling moments that linger foremost in our memories.
Those short, incredible moments, they have their own place– as impressive stories to tell over drinks, or crazy items to check off a bucket list, as a picture of us beneath the Eiffel Tower or holding up the Tower of Pisa or with our arms spread wide before the impressive vista at this amazing place we went to that one time. And really, how freaking awesome are all those things?! From this semester alone, I’ve collected a lifetime’s worth of tales to tell and pictures to decorate my wall, and so many experiences that I never expected to claim as my own.
But no matter how fantastic these individual moments have been, they all fall short of the most important and least recognized moment of all, the one story that each and every one of us having these of-a-lifetime experiences can share: the moment we decided to go.
Going, leaving, has taught me so many things: to be capable of planning, and packing, budgeting, organizing, and of course to be grandly skilled the art of improvisation– all of it, wonderful skills, and all put into existence by the single moment when we decided that part of our lives was to be spent there. From my travels I’ve learned the importance of thinking ahead, how to be flexible and how crucial it is to keep an open mind. But more than anything, the one most important lesson that I have learned, and the one that all we travelers have experienced at one critical point in our lives, I have learned to choose the adventure.
We young and restless are ones who have all made this choice. We are the ones with our pockets lined from weeks of hard summer work, the ones who can speak languages, who can learn from and in fact embrace life outside of out comfort zone. We are the ones with the X’s marking down the days on the calendar, with families and friends and relationships that we left behind, maybe for the first time ever, to pursue our own personal ambitions. We have that spark in our eye and a craving for experience, an urge that we never were and never will be inclined to ignore. We create our own moments and have a hell of a time doing it, all because when we choose, we pick the adventure. We choose to go.
This is not quite a thank you and neither is it a goodbye, although I am too aware that the semester is winding down and all of the amazing people I have met here will soon be taking off to continue their own journeys. I’m very fortunate to have crossed paths with so many other adventurers, and glad have so many incredible memories to share with them. So for all of you, fellow travelers, and to the people that have made this semester one for the books, here’s to this adventure, this moment, and all the ones that led us here.