Leaving Myself & "Finding" Europe
Start writing a post

Leaving Myself & "Finding" Europe

Resilience and Reformation; why leaving home on a weak foundation was the only way to make me strong.

Leaving Myself & "Finding" Europe

Are we sad because it happened or sad it's over?

11 Countries, countless cities, life changing relationships and unforgettable memories in the wonder that is Europe has concluded. As I returned home to the life I temporarily put on hold, a thousand thoughts trampled my mind. Will this all just feel like a dream? How long will it take for me to re acquaint myself with "home?" Is it still going to feel like home? How much have I learned that can be transferred into the person I bring back? Please, don't let me lose that person.

The time I spent studying abroad had its ups and downs, but it was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The challenges along the way were vital to learning about myself, stepping out of my habitual comfort zones, and becoming vulnerable with people I may never get to see again. Every moment was worth it. The bad wasn't even bad. Looking back, I learned something from each moment, it all makes sense now.

Losing expensive items showed me that items aren't really of any value at all. Breaking my elbow in the Republic of Cyprus led to close friendships I may have otherwise missed out on. Starting over in a new place with people who didn't plaster me with my past, was an opportunity for me to create my own future. Being uncomfortable with myself showed me who I am when no one is watching. Lastly, walking into infinite unknowns proved my strength. I earned self respect here and I will be forever grateful.

My four years of high school were spent desperate to be "someone." I didn't know who this person really was or if she was there all along, just hiding behind people pleasing and societal expectations, but I had always been a little lost. The first years of college spiraled out of control as I realized my own insecurities and dealt with them in some of the worst ways. Just when I was getting a grip on reality, coming into my own junior year of college, I left everything I had ever known. I stepped onto a plane in the city I was born and got off to be met head on with nothing but unknown. I left for Europe with two suitcases, a whole lot of hope, and a lot of uncertainty.

The first few days I spent in Graz, Austria were uncomfortable. I was undoubtedly anxious and the jet lag didn't help. As a creature of routine, my world felt shaken and going home was something I looked forward to. It didn't take long for that too change. And yes, it may sound cliche because nowadays it feels like everyone goes to Europe to "find themselves" but that was really never my intention. I was too focused on holding it together and intent on making the best of a situation that I was frankly scared of to spin it into "self-discovery." I wanted to be present and I was determined to come back with at least something to show of myself - even if I had yet to figure out what that was.

I still don't know if it was the spurts of independent travel, moving to a new city and living in it without any familiar support, the phenomenal people I met that forced me to look at myself in a way I was never given the opportunity to do, or simply partaking in the path I was meant to all along. Maybe, it was all of the above. Maybe every person, every "mistake" I thought I made, and every change of plans, was the real plan all along.

These pieces came together in a perfect self improvement sandwich. God had a plan for me here and it wasn't obvious every day, but boy I could feel it. In hindsight some of my worst moments, the downsides, were incredible teaching moments. For the first time, I could not run away from the things I was afraid of. I had no choice, but to stick it out. I couldn't just fly home and pretend it never happened. I had to complete my schooling here even when I got homesick, heal a broken elbow in a non-english speaking country, and live in a body that I still wanted to run out of. These times forced me to see myself authentically. Every emotion I had was justified, it was worthy of attention. I practiced self soothing and I had the time to really see these feelings for what they were. I grew into someone that can take care of herself.

In the months before going abroad, I experienced some pretty dramatic life events. May 2018 I packed up my childhood home, a month later found myself in eating disorder treatment where I would spend the net eight months in intensive care. I watched my dad get remarried that same September and spent too much time on other people to bandage my own insecurities. My weak foundation caused anxiety. Was I "cut out" for this journey? I questioned my strength a lot. Now, I believe I left at the perfect time. Not having it all together, feeling out of balance, being open to my own vulnerabilities and determined to discover as much about my true self as possible was the perfect recipe for an unforgettable experience.

I had so much to figure out, things I wanted to change, and the largest craving for learning how.

Despite exploring new languages, culture, and norms I was also able to explore me. I got to understand what I hate and what I love and what I think is a waste of time. I saw the qualities I want in friends and how I can stick up for myself when someone doesn't honor those boundaries. I got sad and craved people from home, but I also formed new relationships and had the opportunity to meet someone I will never forget. I learned how to handle conflict when people pleasing always ruled my core. I pushed myself to stop thinking about what others want in pursuit of finding what I want for myself.

This experience was not about being reckless in Europe. It really wasn't about school either. It wasn't about fake photos or exaggerated stories, but about leaving things behind. Leaving people that I needed and the ones I would rather be without. It was about sitting with all the things I never wanted to face and being my own "person." Europe was about the "new." For the first time, it was about me and essentially I grew up. I grew up in a way that transcended responsibilities and maturity. It was not about the tangible things, but the priceless, unseen strength I needed to not fall back in my holes. I grew ito someone I can be proud of. Into a more secure, sure of herself human being. Now, I'm just hoping it won't fade as I re-eneter the world that had hid this part of me away.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

A new month means new music! Like each month, I've collected my top 10 new songs or discoveries into a playlist. This November didn't have too many new releases, however, I did find a few and a couple of new discoveries.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Christmas Ideas For Couples That You Can Still Do In The Middle Of A Global Pandemic

The holidays are such a fun time to celebrate with loved ones; here are a few activities to consider being a part of during this Christmas season.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Whether it is a night in at home baking sweet Christmas themed goodies for Santa, or a night out exploring lit up neighborhoods, the holiday season should always be taken advantage of for cute activities!

Keep Reading... Show less

Every Track On Ariana Grande's 'Positions' Album Ranked

Ariana Grande has achieved major success with her new album and we're ranking every track.


Ariana Grande surprised fans in October, tweeting that her new album was being released. What followed was yet another number one peak on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album's title track and lead single, "Positions," also hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

With "Positions," Grande took a much more light-hearted approach than the confessional nature of its predecessor, "Thank U, Next." It was a welcome and refreshing change of pace. Now that the album has been out for a solid month, it's the perfect time to see how the songs rank.

Keep Reading... Show less

In the four Christmas' that I have spent with my boyfriend, I have realized one thing: boys are hard to shop for. Each year I have to rack my brain for gift ideas because when I ask my boyfriend what he wants for Christmas, he always says something along the lines of "nothing," which as a girl is hard to fathom since I literally give him a list each year before Black Friday.

After hours each year scouring the internet for the perfect Christmas gifts to get my boyfriend, I have come up with a pretty long and inclusive list. To help those girlfriends going through the same thing, I decided to put together some of the best gifts I have come across.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

10 Ways You Can Safely Enjoy The Holidays During The Pandemic

Even with a pandemic, there are still ways to celebrate.


It's almost December, which means that it's almost time for the biggest holiday season to arrive! However, it doesn't mean that COVID-19 has decided to disappear. According to the CDC, 147,840 new cases of COVID have been recorded in the last seven days.

States such as Kentucky have closed all of their restaurants, schools, and businesses until December. Some governors have started to advise caution when celebrating the holidays, too. You may be thinking, 'is there any way to really enjoy Christmas during the pandemic?' In fact, there are ways to still celebrate the holiday safely. Here are 10 ways that you can still enjoy the holiday season without canceling any of your plans.

Keep Reading... Show less

The 5 Things We ALL Want For Christmas In Mariah Carey's New Special

The Queen of Christmas is back and bringing festive moments to an all-new special premiering December 4!


Mariah Carey is saving 2020 by bringing an all-new Christmas special to Apple TV+ starting December 4. It will feature guest stars, festive moments, and musical performances. The all-star cast includes Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, and Snoop Dogg. Carey's twins will also make a special appearance.

A festive special is certainly what we all need right now. There are lots of information about the upcoming special that has many fans excited. Here are the five things from the special we're most looking forward to.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Things You Need From Target If You Want To Take Your Christmas Decor Game To A Whole New Level

No one wants to talk about 2020, but these decor pieces will give everyone something worth talking about.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

It's no secret that for a majority of people, Christmas season is the happiest time of year.

There are people that put their trees up before Halloween even begins and those that calmly wait until Thanksgiving is over. No matter which group you fall in, there's a good chance that this year has been a tough one, so why not treat yourself to a few new pieces that will spark joy in your heart every single time you catch a glimpse of them.

Keep Reading... Show less

How The 'Friends' Theme Song Is Actually Describing 2020 — And It Couldn't BE More Accurate

This isn't our day, our week, our month, and definitely not our year...


Everyone knows the iconic Friends theme song and although we may have joked in previous years how relatable it is, here's a breakdown of the lyrics and how they are so 2020, we might never be able to listen to it again after 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments