The world is your oyster
What do you get when you take a homebody who hadn’t even left the East Coast until age 20 and put her
on a plane traveling across the ocean towards one of the oldest cities in the world? A recipe for disaster is what most would say. Sure, I hadn’t known exactly what I was getting myself into when I turned in my application. Something in the pit of my stomach even tried to stop me from doing so. The only thing I knew was that for the entirety of my life so far, I had wanted to travel the world, despite not knowing one thing about living so far from home. That’s what pushed me to do it.
And I write this as I’m sailing through the Mediterranean towards the island of Capri, gazing out at the large cliffs bordering the calm blue sea. There’s not a cloud in the sky, not a volcano unseen and there’s crystal blue water surrounding me. It’s a combi- nation of my two favorite things: the mountains and the ocean. It feels like home.
Europe has been more than welcom- ing to me in that sense. I can now say I’ve done so many things in my life, such as climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, exploring a World War II bunker in Berlin, eating churros and chocolate in Barcelona, riding a gondola in Venice, rowing into a shim- mering blue grotto in Capri and much more. Many of these accomplishments were once merely dreams of mine. Not only have these adventures helped me experience the little wonders of life, but they’ve also taught me things that I hadn’t quite known about myself.
I have learned that I am my best self when I am living. Every hike up a mountain, every exploration of a
ruin or basilica, every stroll through city streets and every gelato tasted has taught me that there is a whole planets worth of possibilities right outside of my comfort zone, I just had to leave it. I have learned that even with tired eyes, constantly exploring brings a newfound appreciation for the world around me. Our earth is beautiful in so many dif- ferent ways and we should care for it as such so that so many other people will have the opportunity to travel and fall in love with it.
I have learned not to let the fear of leaving my comfort zone prevent me from experiencing the world that I’ve always desired to enjoy. Traveling, in a sense, has humbled me. I have not only gained a sense of appreciation for the world, but also for the people in it. Being away from my friends and family has helped me realize how lucky I am to have them in my life. The new friend- ships I have gained in Rome shows me that new beginnings aren’t such a terrible thing. The memories are there forever. I don’t want to picture myself coming home from Europe in a month because it has become a home for me. I still feel as if there is so much more of this planet to see that a semester wouldn’t even cover it, but I’m no longer afraid to go out and look afterwards. It brings me back to the time where I texted my father pictures of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and he replied, “The world is your oyster, girl.”
Yes, Dad, it sure is. Lauren Fitzgerald, a junior, studies English. She is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.