jones, my sister soulmate, this one’s for you.
you steady your gaze as the quintessential california landscape coincides with the miles and miles of patriotic interstate beneath you.
your consciousness weaves amongst the thick layer of chilly sea fog and scattered oak trees and purple-hued wild flowers, all rolling seamlessly over the summer-drenched hills.
with a tight grip on your vacant passport, you realize your dreams are so vivid and curiosity is at your fingertips.
you’re fully aware that you’re about to enrich your life beyond belief.
and suddenly, your room, in our two-story home, tucked away on our proud little flag lot, warrants an american cliché of sorts.
you’re filled with every ounce of hesitation and exhilaration, tipping the scale ever so slightly to the later.
but any sort of fleeting moment is, alas, behind you.
eventually, once you’ve settled in to your everyday routine, leave room for spontaneity.
because i hope that one night, when the mediterranean rain grows heavy outside your new bedroom window, that you race like hell down the narrow staircase out into the cobblestone street and dance barefooted like that beautiful foreigner you are.
and just you watch:
the next four months are going to become a continuity of long bus rides and strong cappuccinos, drippy gelato and wine-stained lips, scenic countrysides and quaint, seaside towns.
and before you know it, you’ll be returning home with insatiable wanderlust and a longing to do it all again.
don’t fear getting lost. or for that matter, getting embarrassed. i guarantee you’ll be misunderstood, and you’ll automatically be perceived a certain way simply because you are an american. just…embrace it.
there will be certain times when you gotta just roll with the punches. things, inevitably, will not go according to plan. for this exact reason, always have extra euros (and snacks). also, patience is a virtue. whatever predicament you find yourself in will probably make for a hilarious story later.
pack like a boss. overpacking will only get you in frustrating tiffs with ryanair when they scoff at your oversized carry-on. i promise that if you can prioritize your suitcase, you’ll learn the difference between what you actually need…and what you can live without.
frame your study abroad in hundreds of photographs, but widen your lens. put an emphasis on capturing people and their interactions, not things. you’ll actually see life in your photos this way.
you’ll discover that through your travels, humanity is far more diverse than you could possibly imagine. you’ll come across people in all sorts of circumstances, faced with limited rights and poverty and it’ll ignite something inside of you. my hope is that you’ll come home (counting your blessings) and inspired to make a change.
finally, leave pieces of your heart in the destinations you travel to, as well as with the people you meet.
be safe, always.
i love you.
(signed, the post-grad.)