Today has been eye-opening for me. I don’t know what it was that came over when when I was thinking about my traveling experiences. Maybe it’s the fact that the Winter Olympics are going on and I’m incredibly jealous of all the athletes that are in a new place (granted it’s Sochi and I know for a fact I never want to go there). Or maybe it’s that I know so many people studying abroad right now. Whatever it may be, there’s one thing I massively regret from my study abroad.
Not taking the time to sit back and enjoy.
My entire trip lasted five weeks. Only five. Which for most, that’s a lot longer than they will ever get and trust me, I will never look back and say I didn’t get my fair share of time. (I do want more time, but I know eventually I will get it.) But, I don’t know about the others on my trip, but I hate that I didn’t just take even an hour in each city to just sit down, look at my surroundings and appreciate where I was in that moment. I never just sat on some grass or on a bench and thought, “I can’t believe I’m in _____ right now.” I hate that I didn’t just sit and enjoy the view. Every day I had things planned from sun up to sun down. Why didn’t I just sit in a park and read a book? Why didn’t I just people watch?
There were moments where I really did just enjoy the view. Every boat tour, every meal enjoyed outside, every time we walked through the park, each walk to different locations, I enjoyed them all. Yet, I never really let the moment suck me in. Every walk I was speed walking, every meal I was scarfing down, each boat tour I was so excited to be on a boat I didn’t look at my surroundings thoroughly. I should have just slowed down.
If you’re reading this and studying abroad or planning to study abroad, take my advice: slow down while you’re there. Don’t take any minute for granted. Allow yourself to find a quiet spot in the park, watch some people or read a book, or enjoy some ice cream. Allow yourself to think “Man, I am so lucky to be here.” or “How in the world did I end up here?” Don’t take those quiet, slow moments for granted. Each moment while you’re abroad should be treasured, not many people get the experience we’ve had or will have. We’re the lucky ones. Take the time for yourself and allow that time to be reflective and appreciated.