By Jenna Booth
The one thing about studying abroad that everyone forgets to mention is that it really is an experiment in self-discovery.
There is a famous quote in reference to the world as a book and those who do not travel read only one page. I love that quote, but I realized the missing piece in that analogy is that it assumes travel is a vessel for exploring only the external environment, neglecting the implications that travel has in allowing for new perspectives on self perception.
My time in Australia has been eye-opening on many fronts. In my work I have realized that my priorities in future job searches should really focus on company culture – I have learned the hard way that I get the most satisfaction in my work when I am interacting with my coworkers both professionally and socially.
As much as I love meeting new people, I often feel exceptionally exhausted afterward, revealing that I may be much more introverted than I had ever thought before.
As much as I love having new experiences, I have a newfound appreciation for the comfort of routines and familiarity. I find that familiarity in getting Junior Mints from the same corner store just about every night, having a delicious stir fry for lunch at the same place every day (literally, every day), going boxing after work, watching my favorite TV shows to unwind before I go to sleep, and coming home to my roommates that I now consider some of my best friends. I am quite happy in Sydney and the best is yet to come, but I never expected to find myself longing for my family, friends, and coworkers that constitute “home” for me as much as I do.
- I can survive just fine without a working phone and 24/7 internet access.
- I have a new affinity for nightlife, but my first preference has been and continues to be: Friday nights spent laying in my own bed in sweatpants and watching a movie.
- I frequently wear my emotions on my sleeve, but only when it suits me.
- I envy people who can run gracefully with a backpack.
- I’m impatient and indecisive, which is a frustrating combination.
- Sitting on the harbor in the sun just watching the water is supremely refreshing and rewarding.
- I’m open but risk-averse.
- I used to think that I loved the beach and the mountains equally, but as I get older I find that I thrive going hiking (in the Blue Mountains) rather than lying in the sand (at Bondi beach).
- I forgot how much I love to read.
- I can’t not be punctual.
- Finding equanimity takes a lot of effort.
- Self-reflection is really just a time to be unapologetically fascinated with yourself
With every day of work, night out, or weekend trip, my subconscious/conscious is constantly weighing, confirming, and rejecting the hypotheses of my Self that I have spent years creating, and those are the assumptions that are most bluntly challenged by the novel environments that travel affords.
Updates to my blogger biography:
I like yoga a lot now.
I drink more cappuccinos and mochas than black coffee these days.
I think I finally realized that my passion lies in human resources.
I still love public transportation and sock monkeys.