To this day, one of my favorite memories comes from a little pub in Dublin, Ireland. I was with Hayley and Ashtyn enjoying the local scene and live Irish music when a kind older man came to talk to us. He wasn’t invasive and didn’t want anything but some conversation. He was a world traveler with a lifetime of wisdom and a soft heart. Our conversation lasted no more than 10 minutes, but he gave us some of the best advice about life, travelling and people that I have ever heard. Small encounters like these often mean the most when you travel.
I have compiled a list of the best advice I received from a collection of random but unforgettable individuals.
- Don't just take pictures of places. The people in the pictures matter more than the location.
- It's ok not to get along with the people you travel with all the time. You are constantly together and it happens. Get over it.
- When you go somewhere new, look AT things, not FOR things.
- Watch out for your friends, always.
- Go get lost, that’s when you really find something.
- You’ll never be done learning, so never stop exploring.
- 95% of people in this world are good.
I also figured some things out for myself. Here are a few of the personal insight I developed.
- Just go with it. YOLO and WTHN.
- Don’t be afraid to go out on your own sometimes. You learn so much about yourself when you have no one to hide behind.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. (Not the first time anyone has heard this piece of advice, but I really grew to appreciate it this semester.)
- The people you make your memories with are more important than the places you go or things you see.
- The world really is small.
- Things don’t always go as planned. That’s good, it makes it more fun!
- Continue to expect and find the best in people.
Maybe my favorite part of this experience has been how travelling and living abroad changes you. It doesn’t make you into a new person but it helps you become the truest version of yourself. This semester has helped me to just be me, not the person anyone else wants me to be. I believe everyone should have an experience like this to discover him or herself.