Since about sophomore year in high school, I’ve been convinced that I’d be living abroad at some point in the near future. I began having this aspiration after my first trip abroad. The year was 2017 and I had convinced my parents to fund my class trip to Europe. I visited Spain and France and did things like climb the Eiffel Tower, walk along the Seine River and watch fireworks on the Nit del Foc (Night of Fire) in Barcelona. Naturally, I was in awe of my experiences throughout this trip. My entire life had been situated in Los Angeles, and I know most people would not be complaining about that and I’m not. The thing is after that trip I developed the “travel bug” as one of my high school teachers put it. I realized there’s so much more to see in the world, many more experiences to be had, lessons to be learned, and memories to be made. It may sound cheesy but there’s no other way to put it. My eighteen years in LA have been great, no doubt about it, but there’s more that I want to live and experience and that’s outside of my hometown.
I’m now in my third year of college, which may I add is unbelievable, and I’m living my dream life in Bologna Italy. Just a few months ago I was living in Santa Cruz and in about a month I’ll be living in Mexico City! Traveling the world has been a dream come true but life isn’t a dream and of course, there’ll always be drawbacks to any lifestyle decision no matter how big or small. A few drawbacks to my traveler lifestyle that I’ve come to recognize have to do with feelings of saudade; a Portuguese word meaning an emotional state of profound longing for something. In my case, I’ve been longing for my friends and family from back home and I’ll soon be missing the friends I’ve made here in Bologna. Travelers soon realize life goes on for loved ones and ourselves when we part ways. However, this lifestyle has also taught me to be intentional and present in every moment I find myself because it is sometimes easy to take such moments for granted.
A couple of days ago I was having a similar conversation with my friend I made here. Coincidentally, she is also an LA native and even grew up close to my neighborhood. She goes to school on the east coast and is now in Bologna studying abroad as well, therefore she understands the traveler experience. Regarding our conversation, we both expressed similar downsides and benefits when it came to traveling. Ultimately, we both concluded that this lifestyle is part of who we are as people; curious, outgoing, and adventurous. At the end of it, we’re on a journey of trying to make sense of the world and finding our place in it.