“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
I am always up for a new adventure, but I always dread the packing and traveling. I never know how much or how little to pack. Over packing is something I always manage to do even for the shortest trips, and surprised when my bag fees are a bit over budget. Having the mindset to always be prepared for the unexpected while abroad is important, but the journey abroad is full of life’s unexpected that I enjoyed embracing. However coming to the realization that traveling is part of the process of learning, understanding, and gain a better sense of new surroundings.
Rather than thinking I had to force myself to trust others, I took it more as an how confident I am to achieve my goals abroad. For instance, learning and adjusting to the rules of the road here. It was not until my orientation at school did I learn that passengers did not have the right away. So my first couple of days when I arrived, I had to get use to dashing across the street because cars were always on the go. Not to mention, I couldn’t find many crosswalks for passengers, so using caution is necessary in the chaos of driving here in Costa Rica. I mention these interactions coming to Costa Rica because these are some of the experiences you cannot pack with you, but learn as you experience them.
These experiences like almost getting hit by a bus while crossing the street are not things I expect to happen, but after a while you sit back and reflect on your growth in new surroundings. Being off balance in the beginning is normal, but after awhile you learn to adjust to a new life and culture. For instance, waking up at 5 in the morning was not something I would imagine doing back home, let alone having classes at 8 in the morning, but after sometime I adjusted.
I mention some of my experiences here because I could have never packed in suitcases and completely prepared myself for the amazing time I have had abroad. Studying abroad is a learning experience. Moreover, an opportunity that has taught me that the imbalances in life are at times the best moments of a journey abroad.