**Traveler's choice (¿Por qué no ambos?)……….Current Anxiety Rating (out of 10): 3
Welcome to the chaos, friends, family, and curious onlookers!
I suppose with the threat of departure almost upon me, I should bite the bullet and take some time to start this blog while I still have some shreds of sanity left before the pre-travel brain-blitz.
For those of you who don't know, I am currently in the midst of feverishly preparing for my trip to Spain. I will be participating in a four month long study abroad program in Granada (located in the southern part of Spain), which will include a month of intensive-language classes from September to October followed by a semester of classes from October to December. The program also includes six excursions to different Spanish cities during our stay (Locations: Córdoba, Las Alpujarras, Madrid, Ronda, Sevilla, and Toledo). After four years of high school Spanish classes and two years of college classes Spanish, I am excited to get of the US (for the first time! Eeek!) and see Europe but…
Well, let me just back up for a second.
Last year, I applied for, and was lucky enough to receive, the Helen Barr Rudin Grant to study abroad in Spain. When applying for the grant, all applicants were asked to submit a proposal, describing how they would bring back their experience and enrich the Lawrence community if they received the grant. While it isn't all that flashy, my idea was this: A travel blog. But a blog beyond just the normal accounts of places visited and homesickness and packing lists (though I will probably talk about all that, don't you worry). I wanted to write about something else.
Most of you probably know this about me, if not now is a relevant time for me to share that I have anxiety. Anxiety as in heart-racing, nausea-inducing, palm-sweating, the walls-are-closing-in anxiety, and although I don't have as much trouble controlling it as I once did, I still felt alienated by those constant fears when I was looking at all the study abroad websites, blogs, and pamphlets. Although the writers warned of the nervousness before leaving and the homesickness upon arrival, they came nowhere close to describing the feeling of terror, or even dread, I sometimes feel when thinking about boarding the plane and being so far from everything I know.
And thus this blog was born.
I will talk about all the normal things that you would see on your typical study abroad blog, but I will also chronicle all my ups and down, what triggers me abroad, and how I deal with it. My intent is to document my travel experience while at the same time showing that although these experiences can be nerve-wracking, that nervousness is completely okay and surmountable.
Alrighty! I suppose that will suffice for an introduction today. And don't worry; the rest of the posts won't be so formal and serious! Just had to get the introductions out of the way. Check back for more updates in the upcoming weeks and thanks for reading!