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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Travel and goodbyes- stress inducing, gratitude producing

Travel and goodbyes- stress inducing, gratitude producing

By: Brie White, Staff Writer

My last article was reacting to the mere thought of this journey ending, and now, sitting in the airport preparing for one last trip before my flight home, things seem to have fully ended. If I were only right about one thing, it would be the denial. I’ve slugged through the last few weeks avoiding that which is inevitable: leaving Melbourne, leaving study abroad, leaving the people and place which have been integral to this life changing experience.

This month has been jam-packed. I’ve flown to three major Australian destinations in the last three weeks, and I currently await a trip to New Zealand before my return. Travel is hectic, never going exactly to plan, and most certainly exhausting. After catching red eye flights galore, rushing through airport terminals in six different locations and looking absolutely deranged with nearly one hundred pounds of luggage being toted behind me, I will be very happy in some ways to set my feet on American soil and keep them there for a while.

Still though, I already feel like I’m mourning, and that seems dramatic, but it’s the best way I can think of to describe the process. I touched the red sand of Uluru and Ayers Rock in the outback of Australia this month, allowed it to run through my fingers, as did the salt water of The Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. I stood on a ferry that sat nestled between the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, similarly to how, in just a few days time, I will stand on the coast of Lake Tekapo on the southern island of New Zealand. I’m so honored to have done these things. I am different because I have done them. The most fearful part of going home perhaps is that people will not know I am different, or maybe I will forget myself.

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I can say with the utmost confidence that despite studying abroad not being a string of exclusively amazing events like those I listed above, the experience in itself, made up of small events both very good and very bad, is rewarding in every sense. I am so grateful for all of those good things, and still, grateful for the bad too. The bad:  all the travel stress, the necessity for out- of-my-comfort-zone independence, the strain that 10,000 miles puts on relationships both near and far and inevitably saying goodbye as this journey is only temporary. Because of these things, I am changed. I have grown, expanded, stretched, shrunk and thought. I’ve thought hard about a lot of things, some of which I’ve avoided and some which I love to dwell. Right now, my thoughts have shifted, if only slightly from denial to acceptance. With that acceptance comes gratitude for the things I’ve touched and those which have touched me, for the places I’ve stood and will stand and mostly for the things that have made me different, and in my opinion, better.

Ayers Rock, Uluru in the Australian outback is a popular tourist destination and sacred Aboriginal landmark.
Ayers Rock, Uluru in the Australian outback is a popular tourist destination and sacred Aboriginal landmark.

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