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Across the Ocean: The Importance of Spontaneity

By Allison Wharton

I have had the great opportunity in the past few months to travel to parts of Europe I never in a million years thought I would ever see.

Examples include Scotland, England, Belgium and Italy.

These trips were not planned until two weeks prior to departure.

The concept of packing my weekend duffel bag and going to the airport at the drop of a hat was unheard of before this semester.

Now, those trips are my weekends.

I have gone on trips with people I barely knew and returned as friends. When else would I be able to do that?

Some trips I like to plan out in advance by figuring out what attractions are around my hostel, and other times my flight and hostel are the only things I plan.

This is possible because traveling within Europe is cheaper than flying in the U.S..

All of these trips account for the main lesson I have learned while studying abroad – It’s OK to be spontaneous.

I used to be a person who needed a plan for everything.

There was a list for everything – whether it was something I wanted to accomplish in a day or some broad five-year plan.

I previously mentioned that living in another country meant I needed to create a new normal.

However, in the case of traveling, I needed to break my own rules – the rules I personally created on how I should live my life. My life was formatted around lists.

I learned to be open to just enjoying the journey, for all its ups and downs, instead of creating these boundaries of what I should and should not do.

I am proud to say I will return to Massachusetts a changed person.

Who would have ever guessed that a single semester could change my life?

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