My first trip abroad was a very quiet, anticlimactic trip to Canada with my grandparents when I was a preteen. We went over the border for three or four days, and the most exciting part of it was that I got a passport to enter the country with. If you asked me now what we did, what cities we went to, and what I thought about the experience, the most you’d get is a shrug and an “Ehh… it was all right?”
Fast forward ten plus years.
I was in university, and on a whim I’d decided to study Japanese for the past four semesters to fulfill my language requirement. I was sitting in class contemplating what to do with my summer vacation as at that point I was on the verge of becoming a Junior, with a capital J. And Juniors were expected to do important, career-building things like get internships, go to job fairs, work full-time during the summer. None of these things appealed to me; I already had two part-time jobs, so I saw no point in pursuing an additional or new one. Nor was I interested in seeking a career-related internship because while I didn’t know yet what I was doing with my life, peeking at the available internships for my degree resulted in me recoiling from the computer screen and immediately switching tabs to Youtube.
It was then my Japanese teacher suggested, “We’re doing a summer intensive course in Osaka, Japan this summer; won’t you come?”
I bypassed a lot of the typical spring and summer vacation trips college kids are Expected to go on; I have yet to go to Cancun in Mexico, and beyond the trip with my grandparents I have yet to properly explore Canada (sorry Canada, I’ll fix that someday).
Can I tell you more about my second trip abroad than I can my first? Boy howdy. But that’s a story for another day.
The point of it all was, though, that I was introduced to several situations that made me very uncomfortable in a set period of time, and stepping into that world felt like I was altering myself, going from being a spectator in my own life to a participant.
Several trips have taken place since then, both abroad and domestically in my home country. If I were watching the world change around me like one watches a movie, traveling feels like switching out an old VHS tape to a brand new Blu-ray disc.
That is what I would like to share with you all through this blog.
Welcome to the What.