In the summer of 2008, my senior year of college, I studied in Madrid. Amazing experience. If I recommend nothing else to my children, it will be to travel and do it while in school. No other life period allows for one or more months of traveling with a few classes mixed in. You won’t learn nearly as much in the classes as you will while trying to navigate a foreign place.
Learn the language or not, it doesn’t matter. Just go. Don’t be afraid, don’t second guess it, just go. Cultural sensitivities on the other hand – learn them, follow them, and ask for forgiveness when you make a mistake. Graciousness, humility and kindness are universal gestures, language not required.
The past few months has got me thinking about Europe. Moving to Denver, getting outside my extremely safe box that was Chicago (which, actually is only semi-safe, but I digress), it’s making me think about priorities. I want to travel. I want to smell different places. I want to see unique smiles. I want to imagine what wears on the skin of people in far away places.
I want to go back to Japan and explore the places I saw during a whirlwind three week adventure in 2009. I want to return to France and see the whole country, not just a corner of the Basque region. I want to explore. Now I just need to figure out how to make it happen. I want to write about what I see and not lose all the photos and travel journals due to a hard drive fail. Note: write travel journals in a notebook moving forward, not on your un-backed-up computer.
I’ll start with exploring California in two weeks. What makes California California?