When I was last home I spent some time in my parents’ basement. Its large and unfinished and my brother, cousins and I have consistently used it as a storage unit. The fun part is that it’s like going through a time capsule every time I go down there. As a kid, whenever my closet got full, I would just gather up all my pictures, mementos, yearbooks, etc., put them in a bin and take them down to the basement. I’ll admit that I was kind of a pack rat back then. But years later, as I begin to go through all the things I kept, I have to say I’m glad that I had some hoarder tendencies. In those boxes, I found some great memorabilia from my childhood through my years of studying abroad. Here are just a few things that stuck out from my time capsule.
My friends and I have decided that there are two things that women who travel wear: scarves and hats. As you can see at the age of 5, I was already embracing my future as a traveler. Or I was trying to be Anne of Green Gables. One or the other. I’m the shorty on the right.
When I was a junior in high school, my family made a trip across the Atlantic for the first time to visit my big brother who was stationed in Germany. Upon getting off the airplane, this was my first picture. The airport bathrooms in Germany had the self-cleaning toilets and I was beyond amazed with German ingenuity. Now having traveled with lots of students on their first experience abroad, I’ve discovered that foreign bathrooms are a common interest. And I’m not going to lie, I know for a fact this isn’t the only toilet I’ve taken a picture of in my past 14 years.
Also buried in the basement were all my old study abroad journals. This one was from my second summer in Italy. It was written in (poor) Italian and was full of my vocabulary, sketches, and the daily challenges and triumphs. As I read through the words that I decided to look up, the questions I wrote down, and the experiences that I struggled with as a 21-year-old college student, I see how much I grew up through my time abroad.
But of all the pictures and notes, this one is beyond far my favorite. After I graduated from high school, I spent four weeks in the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal attempting to teach economics in the local high school. As I look at this photo, it is a reminder that we all need to leave our comfort zones for a while, take risks, and that often what we are most afraid of is actually quite harmless.
Have you kept journals and pictures from travels gone by? Read and look through them and share your old memories that have come back!