Traveling, in general, consists of hurry up and wait. Hurry to the airport-wait in line. Hurry to your terminal-wait for the plane. Those who hurry jog and weave through the crowd while those who wait lounge in the bars next to the terminals.
If you’re traveling alone, this waiting period is time for your heart to slow down to a normal pace after speed walking halfway across the airport to get to your terminal on time. “On time” meaning an hour before boarding (if you’re like me). But it also gives you time to catch up on emails, people watch, blog, edit a video for work, and think. Think about this journey that takes off at 1:30.
At 1:30 I’ll be on my first flight to Europe for my first internship. And I couldn’t be more excited if I tried. But the nerves are also setting in. I have butterflies knowing I’ll be in a new country for two months. I have a pounding heart knowing I don’t fully speak the language. I’m already missing my friends and family, but I’m looking forward to making new ones. And I’m still debating on whether I packed the right things.
They don’t tell you how many kinds of emotions you’ll have while waiting for your first international flight. You won’t know whether to break out the happy dance or break down and cry. You won’t know whether to skip onto the plane or to walk slowly and savor the last few steps on familiar soil.
I say do it all.
Soak in every moment of your home: remember the smells, the hugs, the food, the familiar drive to work or school. Remember it all because you’ll need it for when you find yourself immersed in moments of homesickness or culture shock.
And at the same time, look forward to everything you’re about to experience. There will be new smells, kisses on the cheek, food (oh so much food), train rides to work, and experiences to be had. Savor each new thing. Learn as much as you can. Say yes to anything you can (be safe though, please).
Let’s make this experience of a lifetime one we’ll never forget. And let’s make sure it’s not our last! Cheers to all you travelers, especially the interns and students studying abroad.