It is often said that in the end, all we really have are memories. I think this is quite beautiful, as terrifying as it is. Our memories allow us to relive those moments we wish we could hold onto forever. They take us back to some of our happiest times.
Studying abroad and traveling around Europe has, so far, been the most incredible experience I have ever encountered. Sometimes, though, I am so scared by how little time I actually have here. I try my best not to let these thoughts creep into my mind as I'm enjoying a perfectly good moment. I think that's the hardest part about experiencing life, at least for me.
But it's time to stop tarnishing the present moment.
No more worrying about how one day, that first sip of Guinness, that first bite of Goulash, that first solo trip, will be a fleeting memory.
No more desperately trying to capture every beautiful moment on your phone, simply for your followers.
No more posting on Instagram or Facebook every time you take a picture you really like.
Your experiences - your moments - are yours to have. In the end, they're what we're left with.
This is the time to pursue the things you've always dreamed of doing. Not everyone's plans are going to match up with yours. There may be flights you want to book, places you want to see, and museums you want to visit that your friends do not have an interest in. Do not let them stop you, as selfish as you may feel at first. This is the time to be selfish.
After all, these moments are yours to have.
Take pictures without feeling like you have to show your followers everything. Take pictures because one day you'll want to remember what that tiny jungle cafe in Galway looked like. Take pictures because one day, you'll want to show your children. Take pictures because sometimes these photos are the only way to ensure you won't forget it all. But take them for yourself. This is how you should spend your time abroad.