I have worked for a little less than a year to continue my goal of seeing the world. The summer of 2015 was not a summer of parties with friends, weekend trips to the beach or lazy Sundays. This summer was spent working 40 hour weeks, filling out scholarship applications and researching class equivalencies. The fall semester of 2015 I spent grinding. Working long weekends, missing football games, studying and missing those impromptu bonding trips with friends.
But I had a goal and deadlines.
I made it through the low moments when I thought that my work was in vain. I kept pushing on the days when I wanted to quit (mainly because of my support system that made me see that some things are trivial in the big picture). After all of the work that I have put in, I am finally seeing the finish line. As the days get closer and the to-do list gets longer, I will see that all of my preparation, self doubt, and moments of weakness brought me closer to what I want. January 4th, 2016. That day will be here sooner than I know.
When I study abroad, I will take advantage of every opportunity presented. This will be a time where I can be a completely different person. I can be outgoing and adventurous. I won’t let fear keep me from trying something new or meeting someone new. I will let the history geek in me flourish while abroad. I will make a list of all of the historical sites that I want to visit this semester and I will visit them all before I return to the U.S. I know that at times I tend to be an introvert and chill in my room, but I want to get out more. I will take time to travel around and see the places that I have dreamed of going to visit. This may mean taking day trips around the country alone, but I will make a conscious effort to do this at least once a week. I will take in the scenery every day because on most days my phone is attached to my hand.
This older gentleman on the Blue Loop once told me that keeping my head down and listening to music was allowing life to pass me by. I thought he was crazy, but he is right. I will be more aware of my surroundings and talk to the people around me.
I will attempt to be more healthy. I have to cook my own food and shop on my own (I miss meal points already). London has so many farmers markets and I will try them all. I will possibly try to cook what the local people eat (though I have heard some stories about the food). As my friend would say, “your food should have an aesthetic.” Maybe I will try to be cute with my food and take pictures of it. Either way, I will walk / exercise more and eat more whole foods.
I will keep a journal. I’m laughing at myself as I write this. Writing a journal seems so archaic and yet so permanent. I will write one every day on my tube ride back to my flat detailing everything that happened whether it’s mundane or monumental. I want to see a change in myself as I meet new people and experience new cultures. I will go to different churches across the country and visit at least one in each country that I visit. People pray and worship in different ways. Maybe I should do an “Eat Pray Love”. I’ve never seen the movie, so maybe I should do that before I get on the plane. However, I like the concept of finding yourself. Who is Dajé? Who am I when I am separated from everything that I know? I think that will be my ultimate goal. I will find myself; maybe I will have an epiphany at the Hagia Sophia or on the Swiss Alps. Who knows?
In four months I will come back to this and hopefully I will have successfully completed all of the tasks that I set for myself.
I hope that you will follow me on my journey! If you have any suggestions of travel sites or any questions please feel free to comment. #TravelsWithDaje
Daje Walker is a sophomore studying History and Secondary Education. For the Spring 2016 semester, she will be studying abroad in London, England.