It was a cold afternoon in Dublin’s castle with a dear and old friend that inspired to me to believe things can be seen differently. I was actually there! And I couldn’t believe it. Eight thousand miles away from home, away from my family. Previously, the longest distance I had been from them in my whole life it was visiting my grandma’s house in a little town just 6 hours from Bogotá—and it was so hard to admit that. I said goodbye to everyone that surrounded my last 21 years of life in just the one week before my flight. If it was up to me I would have waited a couple of years more to make that big jump, but then life called and kicked me in the ass. I crossed an ocean to land in a small and cold, very very cold island called Ireland.
And that’s how my interchange program began….
I had to prove to myself that I was able to adapt to live with people I didn’t know, in a language I haven’t spoken before, and start to do the things the way I’d never done before. All of that far far away from my usual guidance: my parents and friends… Was I scared? Of course I was, but I was more excited living on the uncertainty of what was about to happen.
The list things I learned from traveling could go on and on, but here are the two most important things I learned:
Most of all I learn to enjoy life–enjoy each day, each person, each new experience. And the knowing that adventure would end at some point pushed me to focus more on living in the present moment. I learned what matters is what you do HERE and NOW. And that knowledge was the most special gift I could have given myself. And I accomplished it just by going outside my comfort zone and TRAVELING.
The second most special thing I learned through this path was the fact that I can change all of that list of learnings that started with “I” and change them to “WE,” because I was never could have accomplished all of those things just by myself; there was always somebody helping me to learn them or learning as well. Traveling caused me to stop thinking of ME as a single individual and start thinking more like US as people that should be helping each other to achieve common objectives.
I met so many different people, and made friends from so many different cultures: Brazilians, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish, Mexicans, Mauritians, Italians… I lived in different houses, with different flatmates (or roomies) in each house, learning about coexistence with others, good and bad habits of eating, cleaning and working. I learned two different languages, apart of the different ways my own language is spoken in other places–mainly the funny meanings my words could have in other places. I developed skills I was not even aware I had.
I lived abroad one year, but for me it was not just one year: speed is calculated as the rate at which an object covers distance during a portion of time, so maybe it was just one year that I spend over there, but the distance I covered was not just from Bogota to Dublin, the distance I covered in the path of my life was HUGE, and so was the speed of everything that was changing in my life.