Guest post by Ian Evans, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Ian received a Global Business Center Study Abroad scholarship.
I would give up pizza, dogs, and music if it meant I could keep traveling. I don’t say this lightly, I LOVE those things, but there’s just something about travel that brings out the best in me. I’ve found that I enjoy being uncomfortable. I’ve seen and done so many things I feel like I could write a book, but I’ll wait until my rap debut for that. Don’t worry though I’ll try to keep this brief.
One of my biggest apprehensions was about traveling alone long-term. Especially going to those sketchy countries where people advise you not to go and almost no one speaks English. Traveling with friends is great but traveling alone is a million times better. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve met complete strangers, and on a whim decided to travel with them for days or even weeks at a time without any real plans or direction. One week of travel time is equivalent to about 6 months of normal friendship time. You’d be amazed at the kinds of relationships you can make in such a short amount of time. The more I travel the more places I have to visit because of all the people I meet. Of course sometimes it doesn’t work out. More than once I have had to sleep in parking lots or airports, but even then you meet people and find something to laugh about.
I did my best to try and never say no to anything new. I’ve gone surfing, scuba diving, couch surfing, hitch hiking, cliff diving, I’ve seen a volcano erupt lava, camped in the mountains, and tried more food than I can even remember. I also made sure to try and do the same for other people, which I think really made my experience better. Whenever I did anything I invited as many people as I could, whether I knew them or not. I had dinner parties at my place, and was able to give some Spaniards their first BEST thanksgiving they’ve ever had. I have to say that I didn’t feel homesick a single day my whole year in Europe. I flew to Cancun, and the next day I felt homesick for Spain.
I’m already trying to figure out my next trips, and trying to work out how I can meet with as many of the amazing people I’ve met as possible. Before this study abroad experience, I always thought that I would do all these amazing things later. After I graduate, or after I get the right job, or whatever else the excuse might have been. However, now i know I don’t have to wait. My life is my own and I choose to live. I can never go back!