Rumi once said that travel brings power and love back to your life; I think it brings
perspective as well. Just about a month into my study abroad in London, and I’ve been
doing nothing but planning trips to go elsewhere. I’m addicted to the rush of new places
and the exhilaration of unfamiliarity. So far tickets have been bought for Dublin,
Munich, Stockholm, Paris, Barcelona and Brussels. Reykjavik and Milan are soon to be
added. So far, the trips have taught me the value of a decent mattress and a silk pillow
case, good company, and European budget airlines.
Each new place I visit also gives me the opportunity to see my own life and background
from another point of view, through a different colored lens. I am transforming before
my eyes. It’s too early for a quarter-life crisis, but this semester is the perfect setting to
question all I think I know. Between the number of airports and train stations I will see
this semester, the only constant will be me. I am hoping to get to know myself quite well,
as I fear I have lost myself somewhere between midterms, resume drops, and the
crushing pressure to appear social. Free from all of the above, I am reading more,
getting lost more, and feel empowered in this period of rest and restoration.
I am spending more time alone than ever before, a concept I think we fear at Duke.
People are happy to suffer and slave over papers and problem sets as long as they aren’t
left to do it alone. Duke students are fine getting blackout drunk as long as they aren’t
the only ones who don’t remember the night before. Herd mentality is natural and fine,
but I’m not sure I always want to be a good sheep, jumping through all of the set hoops
and going where I’m told I should (tried finance and hated it).
For once I feel as if I’m not on any set trajectory, but rather in a planning period of what
I want that trajectory to be. I am trying new things to redefine what I do and don’t like. I
have the luxury of reading books for fun and discovering new schools of thought. I’m
getting to know myself amidst ever-changing settings that I know nothing about, and
I’m beginning to realize that maybe there’s a lot about myself that I have yet to discover