What travel means to me

When I’m not listening to the Game of Thrones audiobook, my daily morning runs through the peaceful Spanish countryside provide the perfect opportunity for uninterrupted thought. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how much I have changed in the past six months.

I’ve mentioned my pre-graduation freak out during which I realized I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but my breakdown was about more than just cold feet. My decision to move to Spain wasn’t only about not wanting to sit at a desk from 9-5 every day. Truth be told, it was a rejection of the miserable person I’d become.

In the spring of my senior year, I hardly recognized myself. To put it lightly, I was a self-conscious, overanalyzing, hyperemotional wreck. I was the most pathetic version of myself and didn’t dare honestly answer anyone who asked how I was doing for fear of revealing how weak I’d become.

At the time, I was in a situation that didn’t positively serve me. In fact, its negativity penetrated every facet of my life and all but consumed me.

Ordinarily, I would have separated myself from the source of my unhappiness, but circumstances forced me to stay. For the first time in my life, I felt genuinely, horribly trapped.

Bar none, this was the most difficult stretch in my 22 years on this earth. On a daily basis, I questioned my situation, my decisions and myself. Few and far between were the nights when sleep came easy and the mornings when I actually wanted to get out of bed.

If one good thing came out of all my heartache though, it was the period of reevaluation that simultaneously occurred. Rather than apathetically beginning the next chapter of my life, I stopped and thought hard about how I wanted that next chapter to read.

I never wanted to feel trapped again. I was over monotony and senselessness and having my self-worth assigned by people other than me. I wanted options. I wanted my old, confident and carefree self back. I wanted freedom.

So, I turned to travel.

I moved to Spain because I wanted to take control of my own destiny. Some people might think my actions were a little extreme, and some people might even call what I’m doing running away. However, my new environment has provided me with the blank slate I so desperately needed. It’s given me the chance to heal from the past and focus on the future while gaining a new perspective on not just the world around me but also on life itself.

Above all, travel signifies freedom. It’s doing what you want when you want. It’s being whoever you want to be. In my case, I just wanted to be a happy person again.

And, I am.

2 thoughts on “What travel means to me

  1. As someone who has moved across the country a few times now, I agree completely that there is a difference between simply running away and looking to take control of your life. Sometimes, the move is less running away and more moving into a situation that allows you new opportunities. Of course, it takes a willingness to be introspective to see the difference….

    I hope the Torch wasn’t the source of all that unhappiness. You were a great leader for the paper.

    1. Steve, thanks for reading, and the reassurance is much appreciated! I feel lucky to have so many new and exciting opportunities in Madrid. It seems like everything is falling into place as it should.

      I can’t tell you how much it means to me for you to say that I was a great leader for the paper. The Torch was, by far, my most rewarding collegiate experience. It was an honor to serve an organization that gave me so much.

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