To Go Or Not To Go On That Trip

To Go Or Not To Go On That Trip

Take every chance you get to leave.
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I almost didn’t go on my study abroad trip this summer. I applied because I needed more hours for my major and it was a great opportunity, but mostly because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do.

I was grateful when my application was accepted but, I still didn’t feel an overwhelming desire to go. I wanted more than anything to go home and see my family. Homesickness plagued me throughout my first year in college and shipping out right after finals week seemed awful at the time.

Nevertheless, I completed all the steps in preparation. Signed the forms, paid the deposit, got the visa, bought an oversized suitcase, read all the blogs on how to pack for a trip to China, and suddenly I was on a plane.

Ticket and passport in hand I stomped down the jet bridge and thought, “When I get off this plane I won’t be in America.” I bought my plane ticket months in advance. And I chose my seat wisely, the best seat that economy plus would offer, window seat in the bulkhead. Easy to get out without waking up the rest of the row and easy to sleep through water being offered on the hour. Fourteen hours later, I was in Shanghai.

Every day I woke up excited to experience the day. Of course I felt homesick, but I didn’t spend each day wishing I could just go back to sleep. Instead, I changed my mindset entirely and took advantage of the freedom I had to explore my temporary home.

One night, the air was clear and with a sudden surge of energy I got up, knocked on my friend’s hotel room door. “Do you wanna go on a run?” I asked. Ten minutes later we sprinted through the streets of Shanghai.

Four months ago I was laying on my bed thinking, “I just want to go home.” But instead, I left home and went out to experience something new. I can’t imagine not going on the trip now that I’ve gone, seen what I’ve seen, and done the things I did.

Don’t debate whether or not to go to a college far from home. Don’t hesitate to take the job offer thousands of miles away. And always go abroad if you get the chance because everything that I left remained the same when I returned. Home is comfort. Home is normalcy and security, but home isn’t exciting and it won’t let you see the world. Just go.

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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Why We All Should Start Making a Reverse Bucket List

For those who spend too much time looking ahead…

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I'm so guilty of spending too much time thinking of the future. I often feel like I completely miss what's in front of me (and this makes me feel bad because I've been told over and over again that these are the best years of my life).

I'm constantly thinking about things I want to accomplish--which is good--but sometimes I get carried away and I forget what I have going on in the present moment. I used to have the longest bucket list, filled with things that I needed to experience/accomplish. However, after I would check one of the boxes off, I would completely forget about it. For this reason, I think that if you're going to have a bucket list, you should have a reverse bucket list as well. Keep a list of all the things you have accomplished.

For example, a little over a year ago, the biggest thing on my bucket list was to get into a good college and finally live on my own. I accomplished both of those things. However, I'm too busy looking forward that I forget to look back and appreciate the things I have achieved. These are things that should go on my reverse bucket list.

I was recently given a book titled The Power of Now. The author of this book struggled with anxiety for most of his life--until he learned to live in the moment. He writes, " I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy." This statement captures just how powerful living in the moment can be. The author is now a spiritual teacher and he recommends this practice because he has found it to be so valuable in his own life.

I certainly still need to work on living in the moment. I've made a little progress but I still have a long way to go. I think the reverse bucket list is a good starting place for anyone who wants to begin this practice. And I would definitely recommend The Power of Now for some guidance as well. Since I have started doing this, I have really started to believe that living in the present moment is one of the keys to a happy life.

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