…or not. Because based on these pictures (both taken at the Pantheon in Rome Italy – but 5 years apart) I haven’t aged not one bit. If I keep this up I’ll be the flyest 50 year old you’ll have ever known! No, but really, why do I not look at least one month older in that second picture?! I mean, it’s been half a decade!
The photo to the left – October 2006, HU student, two months into my study abroad experience in Italy (which was my first time out of the US), one of the few people who are actually using Skype already, my only cares in the world were a) I hope we don’t miss our train back to Milano and b)I hope it rains during Homecoming so I don’t feel like I missed anything (I’m sure it did), memories of hostels and overnight trains.
The photo on the right – January 2012, 5 years, 5 moves, three jobs, an engagement (and subsequent disengagement) and half a master’s degree later, my job is paying for me to visit these places (i.e. no more hostels!)
What a difference 5 years makes! You NEVER know where this life or your travels will take you. Who knew that this one journey during the Fall of 2006 would actually end up changing the trajectory of my life COMPLETELY! People always say studying abroad is a “life changing experience” but in my case it literally was. Studying abroad planted the seed for me to first start encouraging others to study abroad, and then to travel in general, led me to volunteer for a nonprofit called the National Center for Global Engagement, and ultimately led me to quit my well-paying corporate job to go back and start that Master’s Degree in International Education. And all of that somehow has gotten me to the point where I am today, as a coordinator for diversity in a study abroad office for a campus of 35,000+ students. Crazy! But perfect…
Most people like to say, “Think outside the box” but like the motto of our office, I’d like to say “Think outside your borders.” Your life’s passion and calling may be waiting for you just on the other side of a passport stamp. I’m not saying you may begin to work in the travel industry, but seeing different ways of life really opens your eyes and your heart to all that is possible out there. You don’t have to be limited to 40+ hours of misery or even mediocrity. The world is yours forreal – it’s just up to you to go out there and see it!
Let’s see where 5 more years gets me. So far it’s looking pretty good!