This week marks the midpoint of my program. That’s right – this adventure is only half over. It seems to have flown by and dragged by in equal measure.
By the numbers so far since August 11, 2015:
- 15 countries plus another two in transit.
- 17 individual flights.
- 170 blog posts.
- 10 research papers of varying lengths, 4 exams and 5 presentations.
- 9 professors.
- 3 Student IDs.
- Roughly 12,000 photos.
- 33kg of luggage.
- 1 job offer: Lord of the Rings tour guide. Not kidding.
It’s surprising how easily adapting to each place comes after the first three days, contrary to what Mr. Bryson says. London and Vienna had lots of similarities, but Vienna and Bangkok could not be more different. I try to go to each place with an open mind and just experience it for what it is. I’ve certainly had good days and bad days along the way – sometimes I just want something familiar and easy, like a trip to Target. After my friends and family, I miss Target, cooking and driving (in that order).
I had a conversation with a friend lately about how I’ll ever top this experience when it’s over. I’ve thought a lot about that. The truth is, I don’t actually think of travel that way or life, for that matter. Some experiences are amazing, and you want to remember that feeling. But I know other experiences will be just as amazing without my having to orchestrate anything. None of us knows what tomorrow has in store, so our only job is to meet its challenges and opportunities with an open heart and willingness to learn and grow.
Some of my favorite experiences on this half of the journey have been freezing my tail off in Iceland with ST, the bizarro Disneyland Paris adventure because it was so last-minute and just fun with MD and NM, my visit to Belfast for its history and hope for the future, The Sound of Music tour with KW, seeing Europe through AN’s eyes, and my entire trip to New Zealand. Having friends visit has been such a delight – getting to show them this version of my world has been a major highlight for me. I’ve also had the opportunity to make many new friends.
I’ve also included a handful of my favorite photos from the last few months.
Title quote: Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything