I’m going to start off by stating that I have no plan thus far.
I guess that goes for both traveling and this coming year/5 years/foreseeable future. Where did this come from? Why is there a one-way ticket to From Chicago to Istanbul on my credit card statement? It’s complicated.
Only it doesn’t seem complicated to me. I did think about it a lot and do a steady stream of searches through airlines for a couple weeks, swapping around dates and destinations to see what was available, but I bought the ticket and printed out the confirmation page without breaking a sweat. A lot of things were pushing me toward this. My last regular post was almost a year ago, and after that I sort of stopped writing. I hadn’t been accepted at any of the graduate programs I had applied to, hadn’t thought about a back up plan, had barely any time before graduating, and no idea what to do. I felt very, very lost and very, very scared for reasons I couldn’t explain. Eventually, I stopped to take a few deep breaths and realized that most people I knew from 23 to 28 seemed to feel the same as I did, and after that I stopped being scared (most of the time anyway). I moved back in with my mom, went back to work at my job at the bicycle shop, and tried to reevaluate.
Time and distance from college made me very slowly realize a lot of things, the most immediate of which was why I was probably, rightly, rejected from the programs I had applied to and why I was glad I had been: I was tired and unfocused. I had had no idea what I wanted to study when I had applied, and, what’s more, I was exhausted. Having gone from a competitive, high performance high school to a university that was more of the same, I decided to let myself off the hook and have a break, which is what this year so far has been. Apart from the fact that I am now re-applying to graduate school. I have a much more definite idea of where my interests lie, and I know a lot more about the schools I am applying to, as opposed to last year where I sort of just picked a few out of the top ranked lists. I’ve been doing things differently, stressing out less, and I have felt worlds more prepared for this application process. However, I’ve also decided that I don’t really want to be around for the grace period between when my applications are submitted and when I find out what the departments think of me. Additionally, though I have been extremely lucky to have remained employed at a bike shop past the main season, I will have nothing to do in it in January and February, and even most of March. So, I’m leaving.
This is one of the best times I have ever been presented with to travel: I have been saving money like crazy for the past eight months, have very few responsibilities, will be between jobs, and just plain really want to. As of yet, my travel plan consists of a vague list of places I want to go (Prague, Sarajevo, Brussels, etc) and places in which there are people I want to see (Edinburgh, the Netherlands, Istanbul, etc). This, of course, means I’m resurrecting my travel writing, if anyone remembers Pomegranates and Tea, my Istanbul study abroad project. That’s something I’m looking forward to.
Updates to come.