A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Many people dream about travelling to new places, seeing different countries, cities, cultures. I also happen to be one of those people. I love getting on the train or the airplane. This feeling of freedom and the expectation of the adventure that awaits me is priceless. It is then when I feel more alive than ever- I am finally taking life in my own hands. Maybe it’s the escape from a life lived on autopilot. One’s gotta be alert when traveling. Nothing is familiar, nothing is routine, nothing is comfort zone.
When I used to live in the southernmost part of Europe, that is for most of my life, I had decided I would treat myself with a trip somewhere far away at least once a year. Back then, commuting was time consuming, pricey and often impossible. So every year, since I was old enough to travel unsupervised, I would make a viable plan and would be looking forward to it all year round; and it would be amazing, every single time.
I am grateful for the fact that I had friends who were fearless migratory birds. Oftentimes, they would either suggest we should go on a trip or invite me over to their new place and give me an even better reason to hop on that plane. When I was little and scared, they would say we can do this and so we did. The years went by and I was finally able to do it on my own. I would, then, invite them over to my new place, and we would make beautiful memories in a new corner of the world every time.
I had a chance to experience one of these trips again last weekend. I was invited to the UK to meet two very dear friends of mine. Every time an opportunity like this comes up, there is a moment when one has to be the Yes man or keep making up excuses for the circumstances not being absolutely perfect. Yes, I have an essay to hand in on Saturday, yes last minute tickets are not the cheapest, yes we only have the weekend. On the other hand, yes I have missed my friends so much, yes I can work harder during the week and be finished before the deadline, yes I choose to spend my money on experiences. Yes, I am doing it, for God’s sake!
So I went, and I met my friends and we talked, and we walked for hours, and we saw things we had never seen before; and we laughed, and we talked some more about the old times, and we encouraged each other for the things that are yet to come. But most importantly we loved each other, and we all felt at home, in a place we had never been before, in a house that was not our own.
Now I know what people mean when they say: you will only regret the chances you did not take. At the same time I acknowledge that the timing is rarely going to be perfect and if we want time to work for us we have to make time ourselves. So, be brave and book that last minute ticket to go see you friend, your family, the world. Get on that plane. It’s worth it. Even if it is just for 48 hours. Cause life is short and the world is wide.