It seems that all of my current passions and hobbies continue to show connections to memories of my childhood.
Following that same pattern, my admiration for travel began before I had ever even left the State of Michigan. I remember my grandmother had a collection of large stuffed animal bears that sat at the top of the desk in the guest bedroom. They were pieces she had collected over many years. Shortly after learning about her collection, my mother returned home from a trip to Chicago, bringing me back a purple beanie baby bear with a sun and “Chicago” embroidered on the front.
I named that bear, Purple Sunshine — I know, it was a very unique choice! That was the first beanie baby in my collection. From then on, I would purchase beanie baby bears from places like Canterbury Village and Greenfield Village during school field trips, or up north with the family on vacation. Eventually I made it to Stratford, Canada with my other grandma, and even Idaho for vacation.
Collecting objects, whether they be coins, snow globes, or stamps, is a way of remembering and marking special moments. This act is what truly created my love for travel. It’s silly, but I almost was inspired to travel more just so I could get more bears for my collection. I have around 32 or 33 bears now, and the number will only keep growing as I continue to explore the world.
I made it to Washington D.C., Alabama, Tennessee, New York and eventually France and Spain. Now, friends and family even bring bears home with them when the travel, so I have a souvenir to add to my collection.
As many of you may know, my most recent adventure was a school trip to France and Spain about three years ago. I was fortunate enough to explore Paris, Barcelona and Madrid, over the course of two weeks, and it was the most enlightening, eye opening experience I have ever had. Being immersed in a completely foreign environment like that is something I don’t even know how to explain. It is sincerely life changing. I love learning about other cultures and how they relate to our own. From food to art to music and cultural customs, the world beyond us is my deepest passion.
And now, I am about to embark on my latest journey, to spend an entire semester abroad, studying in Athens, Greece. This adventure will take me to Crete, Cyprus, Peloponnese, Meteora, Metsovo, Ioannina, Andros and many more places, to explore the historical sites and monuments around Greece and to learn about ethnography, anthropology, art, architecture and religion among other things.
I cannot wait to start this most recent chapter of my life, and I hope that you will join me on this journey, so that you may experience a little bit of the adventure I will be having.
Thank you all for your love and support. I hope you enjoy keeping up to date with my shenanigans and whereabouts.
As one of the only 24 hour diners in Pangrati, serving delicious crepes 24/7, Poco Poco obviously became a CYA favorite from the very beginning of the semester.read more
What do you do when you’re in the middle of an open city square and you realize you no longer have your wallet? The wallet, by the way, that stupidly contains just about every last important thing you own.read more
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have experienced multiple adventures walking both up and down various hills and mountains throughout Greece. Now, those of you who know me know that I do not like cardio. At all. You might get me to do a fast walk, but climbing and running? Nah. I started preparing for just this kind of situation some six months back by losing a significant amount of weight and getting in better shape. I’ve been happy to find that while these treks can be strenuous and challenging, they were not impossible. Six...read more
Sometimes the things in life that bring us the most joy, are the simplest ones — the things we fail to acknowledge in the craziness of our nonstop, daily schedules. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This past week, I think I came a little closer to finding myself. While study abroad programs often provide incredible opportunities for learning and traveling, the real experience isn’t found inside of a book or on a sunny beach or even at a historical site...read more
Today I took the metro.
Yes, it may seem like a simple accomplishment, and surely something I shouldn’t just now be doing for the first time after a whole 6 weeks of living here in Athens. But, it is a daunting task, no matter how seemingly ordinary…read more
Whenever I start to think about how our minds work, I always seem to imagine an organized and efficient system of spinning gears in my head. Which is funny, because if there were, in fact, gears in my head, they would most definitely need to be oiled.read more
Friday morning, I was on my way to the grocery store to pick up some fresh steaks, when I stumbled upon one of the greatest things I have found thus far in Athens: The Pangrati Farmers Market! It was around 3:30 in the afternoon and the market was approaching closing time, so as I walked through the street, admiring the rainbow or fruits and vegetables spread out across crates and tables, my ears were bombarded with the auctioneer-like shouting of discounted prices and playful vendors grabbing the attention of any and every passerby. For only...read more
What does it mean for an experience to be authentic?
When we travel to other countries, we tend to enter our foreign endeavors with romanticized ideas of the ‘authentic study-abroad experience.’read more
Nowadays, in America, we have lost the authenticity of European cafés as they existed in the the 19th and 20th centuries. I long for the ability to walk into a café, and in doing so, enter a reality of salon culture that’s been dead for over 60 years.read more