There is something so daunting, yet so welcoming about arriving in and immersing yourself in a new place. Traveling is a task and adventure that can be quite taxing mentally at times, as there are so many items and important pieces of information to store and present at various checkpoints, language barriers to deal with, lack of appropriate meals, and other unexpected goings-on that can attribute to a mountain of stress.
As I travel more increasingly as years progress, it becomes less and less of a task and more of an adventure - but I'm always reminding myself that there is an intense and growing process in learning to function fully in places outside of your comfort zone. There is a piece of me that needs to finish all of the "loose ends" on my to-do list before I head off somewhere, or finish cleaning every last bit of my room, or feel fully "fresh" and ready before I leave my home. While this is a satisfying feeling, I have come to realize that this is not always achievable - but, however, is what illustrates the beauty of traveling.
Traveling and exploring new places is merely the opportunity to pick up your life, wherever you're at, and continue on with it in a new place.
Yesterday, I left on a one-month long journey to Greece to study abroad with my college, Washington State University. In the heart of the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, I'll be studying strategic communication applied to social media campaigning for small businesses, allowing me and my team to create digital content and develop campaign strategies for niche industries in the area. The week prior, and up to the literal hour before, I scrambled around, trying to get every last photo uploaded, every update installed, every corner of my suitcase perfectly packed. This amounted to a lot of stress, obviously - and even more after it came time for me to leave and there were still a few things left on the list to "complete."
During my journey over, continual reminders in the form of working people, families conversing, or things going wrong, reminded me that life can never be "perfect" before you leave a place, nor do you need to "live" differently when you enter one. Adapting to changes in atmosphere and functioning fully within them is a highly valued skill in my book, and this trip (and I know others following it) is reminding me to take things slow, pick up where you left off, and make time for details that help create a comfortable space outside of home base. Whether this be playing a favorite song, taking a moment for a face mask, stopping to take the picture you wanted, or talking to a friend for a few minutes, adding things into your "travel" schedule that are essential parts of your life help make new spaces more adaptable and enjoyable.
As I begin this trip, and continue to share about my experiences, I'm looking forward to documenting these little moments that help me improve my travel lifestyle - from little flowers on the side of the road, to selfies with new friends, to movie nights with microwave popcorn. I'm looking forward to sharing more of me, living in Greece - not just traveling there.