The Darcelona (no, that is not a typo) adventures have sadly come to a close (for now, at least). After a long day of travel – from Madrid to Miami to Cleveland – I am finally home for the first time since spring break. Coming home to my unchanged bedroom always evokes a slew of emotions; while my room has remained untouched, so many parts of my life have changed.
They say traveling changes you. (I don’t know who “they” are, but you get what I mean.) Going to college far away from home was a big leap and has definitely made me feel more independent – but this is the first travel experience where I have truly been thrown into a foreign place and forced to figure things out on my own. No matter who you are or where you are, traveling is one of the best ways to learn about yourself and others.
In my leadership class, we discussed the “imposter syndrome,” which is when a person fears everything they have achieved has happened solely out of luck, by chance, with “the right connections” or by “being at the right place at the right time.” They attribute their successes to everything except their own abilities and talents, and they fear being “uncovered” as an imposter. I think many people have felt this way at one time or another – I know I definitely have. Prior to my travels, I honestly did not know how I would keep up with classwork, meet deadlines for my blog and enjoy myself – all while in a brand new place with brand new people. I was excited, but I was uncertain about handling the challenges that would come my way.
However, this trip proved to me that I do not give myself enough credit. I stayed on top of my class assignments, had a blast with the blog posts and videos I created and had the time of my life in Barcelona with new friends. I would not trade the late nights (or begging people to get off of the WiFi for a few minutes so I could publish a post) for anything, as I genuinely feel I have grown as a storyteller through the volume of work I completed this month.
As a Journalism major, I hear it all the time: “You’re going into a dying industry,” “Print is dead,” etc., etc. I am not denying that the future of print publications is uncertain, but storytelling stretches far beyond the confines of traditional newspapers and magazines. I am more inspired than ever to continue expanding my photography and videography skills. I have always appreciated travel reporting (I’m especially inspired by Condé Nast Traveler and their YouTube channel), but this past month, my camera has practically become my child, and I realized that writing, photography and creating videos are not just things I enjoy, but things I hope will be a big part of my future.
And now, a few thank-yous:
To my parents – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to study abroad and for showing Ethan and I the value of traveling, even from a young age. Though I have loved our FaceTime sessions, it is great to be back to share the stories and laughs in person! Thanks for picking me up from CLE last night at 1 a.m. (Nothing says “welcome home” quite like getting stuck behind a train moving so slow, it stops on the tracks.)
To my brother, Ethan, who graduated from Michigan State this past month – Thanks for always being the best brother ever! I am glad we could spend time together before you leave for Chicago. I am so proud and excited for you to return to the Windy City, and I can’t wait to visit.
To my study abroad roommates, Amanda, Corey, Lauren, Olivia and Sydney – thank you for turning 504 Provença, a once-unfamiliar apartment, into a home away from home. From foreign washing machine settings to loud/sneezing neighbors, toilet paper emergencies to WiFi password controversies, every moment (good and bad) has been more fun with each of you. One thing is for sure: my experience abroad would have been very different had I not lived with this sometimes-dysfunctional, always-fabulous group of girls.
Sydney (my fellow #OutOfStaterGator), I will miss our morning walks to the Metro/Entença (but maybe not the shoulder-to-shoulder train rides). I will never forget waiting with you when you tried to get your Metro pass fixed at one of the stations (we pressed an emergency “SOS” button on an information tower by accident – but don’t worry, nothing happened).
Corey, thank you for always being such a positive light (and inspirational with your workout routines)! I’m so glad we finally got to have Brunch and Cake in Barcelona. I will also never forget when I woke up to you yelling “EMERGENCY! WE HAVE A LEAK!” (referring to a leaky air conditioner).
Amanda, thank you for taking Polaroid pictures of everything (even people sleeping on the bus rides). I am still horrified at the bug incident, though. (Thank you once again to whoever put the trashcan over the unidentified insect and left it there overnight. I am officially scarred for life.)
Lauren, you were one of the best adventure buddies I could ever ask for. I will miss our conversations about anything/everything. You never fail to crack me up with your sarcastic remarks (especially in regards to selfie sticks and big crowds). PS – I am so glad I met someone who understands my love for paper and pens.
Olivia, thank you for being the best actual roommate (we shared a room in the apartment) who shared my love for the dogs of Barcelona and was always “down” for gelato. Thanks for laughing with/at my bad jokes. Pròxima Estación: Verdaguer.
All in all, I would not change anything about my month spent abroad. Watch this video to see the adventures through my eyes:
Until next time,
PS: Stay tuned for exciting updates/changes to my blog in the near future!