Alternative title: what to do after you’ve already done the coolest thing you’ll ever do.
Seven months ago on Christmas Eve, I returned home after sailing the ocean blue with Semester at Sea for four months. As I discussed in my original post about my abroad experience, I had a distinct feeling then that I would long for those times for the rest of my life.
That could not be more true. Since the end of my program, I’ve genuinely gone through a process of grieving what I used to have. I’d give ridiculous things to be back on the ship with the friends who became family. I miss the smell of the sea and the salty breeze on the back of my neck.
As I’ve grown further and further away from last fall, my grief has turned to joyful remembrance. What used to hurt has scabbed over and created space to reflect with appreciation on what I learned and how I learned it.
Here’s what I’ve learned in this season: the past may be beautiful, but I can’t live there.
I can’t go back to the ship as I remember it because the people who made the ship a wonderful environment won’t be there with me. I may grieve that period of my life and feel upset by its inaccessibility, but sitting in those feelings won’t get me any closer to the ocean.
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Here’s what I can do: enjoy the right now. I now know more than ever that I will look back on who and where I am right now with longing and nostalgia.
When I came back from abroad, I was hellbent on finding another adventure stat to satisfy my desire to keep traveling. But what I lost in that craving was a sense of appreciation for what was right in front of me.
Even now, as I’m back living with my parents and trying to puzzle together some sense of normalcy, I’m grateful for this time. I’ll probably never live with them for several months at a time again; I’ll miss this time someday.
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Now, I’m trying to navigate a balance between past, present, and future. Loving my past because it brought me here. Enjoying the present because it’s exactly where I need to be. Looking to the future with gratefulness because there is so much good on the way.
As I was prepping for this post, I went through all of my pictures from abroad and picked some of my favorites to share! It was tough to narrow down the images I wanted to include because I literally have 3,000+ in a folder on my phone.
Swipe through and let me know which ones are your favorites!!
where i stood
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5 thoughts on “life after study abroad | 7-month reflection and more photos!!”
This post hit me in the feels – I spent last fall studying abroad in Copenhagen and it was the probably happiest period in my life I can remember!! Some days my heart just aches thinking about never getting to live those memories again ☹️ semester at sea looks like SUCH an awesome experience, I would’ve loved to go Morocco if I would’ve had a chance. Lovely post, these pictures are stunning! ❤️
Omg Erin that sounds like it was the most amazing experience!! There’s something so magical about being abroad; it feels like it’s a cutout of life that honestly isn’t real 🙂 here’s to hoping we find adventures again once it’s safe to travel!!
Great post 😀
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