When the adventure ends.

I have yet to catch up on tales of adventures of Spain, Austria, and Germany, I realize. Those stories will come. And next month I will have a Czech Republic trip to share with you as well.

But today, I want to talk about what happens after the adventure. That thing that we all try to escape. That thing called reality.

When you travel, be it a short vacation or longer-term studying abroad, in the back of your mind you know that it can’t last forever. Eventually you have to return to work and school and your life back home. I took classes in Spain, I still had to work for my grades, I still got stressed out. But in Spain, I didn’t spend every waking hour being hyper-productive. I got healthy amounts of sleep, when I wasn’t taking a midnight bus to Portugal or chasing down pasos during Holy Week that is. I sipped tea or café con leche (or sangria, of course, always a good option) and discussed life’s great questions with good friends. I explored. I took walks by the Guadalquivir River. I journaled in the Plaza de España. And although study abroad certainly had its challenges, overall I think I thrived in that environment.

While I was in Spain, I told myself that those habits of taking time out of my day to enjoy life’s simple pleasures had to continue when I returned to the US. That time did wonders for my life and my sanity, and I wanted to carry the lessons of Sevilla with me when I returned home. Even if I wouldn’t have the time to slow down quite so much, I thought that surely I could find just a little time. Well, as a fourth-year college student with a research-heavy course load/job, looming deadlines for grad school applications, and loads of other things overfilling her plate, let me be the first to confess that “a little time” is not always so easy to find.

I could list a thousand other things that I should be getting done right now instead of writing this post, but sometimes, I have come to realize, you have to allow yourself to stop. Maybe you think you can’t afford to take a short break, but sometimes, you can’t afford not to. Pre-Spain Stephanie wouldn’t dream of doing anything else until she was completely caught up (which by my definition is “way ahead”). Now, I try to be okay with taking a break if I need it and understanding that the world won’t end if I do. In fact, giving yourself those little moments to recharge probably increases your productivity later. I’m not perfect at it, but I think it is a worthy goal.

For me, those breaks mean journaling (I’ve actually been good about a page a day). They mean annotating The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the hundredth time (please go read this life-changing book if you never have). They mean committing to running (until now at least, stress fractures are the worst…and I may have attempted to not care about pain and run this weekend because I miss this outlet that badly after only a week).

Stop to think about what little joys you need to seek in your everyday life.  Because returning to reality doesn’t have to mean losing the beautiful traveler’s spirit that you cultivated away from your little corner of the world.

-Steph

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What I wouldn’t give to steal away to this place in this moment….

One thought on “When the adventure ends.

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  1. Excellent. Stephanie, you’ve figured it out. You are different..the time in Spain has given you the grounding that you needed. Use it. It will help you in life a thousand times more than the research and routine study that you do now. I bet you look at that research and study differently–another perspective has been added–so valuable to whatever you pursue. The magic is balancing it all. A difficult challenge, but one I have no doubt you are up to.
    Love you, Aunt Jennie

    Liked by 1 person

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