Travel Unfiltered

“Comfort is the enemy of progress.” – Selena Gomez

Before I left to study abroad, I expected a quick, easy adjustment to a summer in Italy.  I imagined each day passing faster than the next, visiting and experiencing unbelievable sights, and feeling euphoric 24/7.

However, I quickly learned that this was not necessarily the case.

Sure, I certainly have experienced moments of overwhelming joy and contentment.  When I visited Positano, a small city on the Amalfi coast this past weekend, the view of the bright blue water and charming hotels, shops, and houses built in the cliffs literally brought a tear to my eye.  However, I have also experienced moments of fear when considering the duration of my program while each day passes much slower than in the United States, frustration and stress when not understanding course material in a very intensive class program, and despite being surrounded by people in a small city, loneliness and homesickness.  In short, culture shock is alive and well, folks.

But with the help of my wonderful network of family and friends back home, and professor and classmates in my study abroad program, I have grown to realize that just because I am spending my summer in a picturesque foreign country, that does not mean I am required to feel 110% ecstatic all the time.  I am still a human being, it is ok and heck, even normal to face struggles in a period of extreme adjustment.

And even though these waves of culture shock come and go, I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity for growth.  I am learning to not let schoolwork get in the way of my education, to find universal constants of stress relief, to experience, rather than just see.

Travel is not always the bright and beautiful pictures posted on social media; it is also your hairdryer frying with the use of the wrong outlet adapter, finding solace in gelato, mustering the courage to share with others the reality of the moment, rather than the desired answer.  As quoted above, comfort is the enemy of progress.  Although each day brings new challenges, it also brings strength, and as cheesy as it sounds, the opportunity to “find myself”.

3 Comments on “Travel Unfiltered

  1. Great Perspective, E! I backpacked and Eurailed around Europe for 8 weeks right after college graduation and it was one of my best “growth” experiences EVER. I was on my own for part of it before meeting up with a friend. This, obviously, was pre-internet/cell phone, so we had all sorts of mishaps and interesting experiences along the way and no help from our US supports (though they would have been there if there was something SERIOUSLY wrong). At times we felt quite overwhelmed, confused, homesick etc, so I can totally relate to what you are feeling! Elizabeth, you will likely look back at this as one of your best college experiences, so ENJOY all that Italy (the good and the bad) has to give you in the short 8 weeks you are there. That Selena quote sums it up quite well! Can’t wait to hear about your trip and I am thoroughly enjoying your trip through your FB pics. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re a rockstar (just stalked your whole blog and your writing is just so beautiful). I am so proud to be friends with you Liz, you amaze me! Hope you are learning and growing and experiencing it all in every way imaginable!! Miss you tons

    Liked by 1 person

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