As much as I wished upon the shooting stars we saw in Carnarvon Gorge that our study abroad trip didn’t come to an end, it unfortunately did.
I’ve come back to the states feeling many a things from inspiration, motivation, culture shock, strength, love, appreciation, joy and even a little bit of sadness. Lots of things, I know but bare with me.
These past few weeks were something that I never could have possibly imagined would be a reality for me. Each day since I found out I would be travelling abroad and each day while we were there my heart constantly summersaulted inside my chest leaving me speechless, excited and incredibly grateful.
Throughout the trip there were so many things I learned not only about the environment but about myself, others and how we are all connected in this world and the duty we have to be stewards of it.
Inspiration & Motivation
Throughout our trip we were lucky to be led by Dr. Kris who since the beginning of the semester spoke passionately about climate change. He addressed the problem but he was not pessimistic when doing so. Prior to his class I was barely learning about our carbon footprints and the longevity our world would have if it continued and because I was only one person from billions willing to do something to reduce my own carbon footprint I felt a little hopeless for our natural world. However, something Dr. Kris was adamant about was that little changes can and do matter. Him along with the amazing guides we had in each of our excursions inspired and motivated me to continue pursuing my dream of being a voice for the voiceless, this case our natural world and its inhabitants, and be a wildlife and environmental journalist to bring attention to important issues at hand.
In previous blogs I have talked about the atmosphere in Australia; the friendliness of the people and the serenity felt even in the busy cities of Sydney and Brisbane. As soon as we landed back in the states and we were walking around Los Angeles International Airport looking for our connecting flight I felt weird culture shock. What?! I was back in the country I have lived in all my life and I was feeling shock in it? I guess I hadn’t heard beeping or hadn’t seen people running around everywhere pushing and sometimes yelling while in Australia. Of course there were the occasional run-ins with that but not nearly as much as we experienced the first few minutes back in the states. Each time we visit Mexico I feel the same way but I had never really noticed it. I do not fell it in the busy states we visit such as Nuevo Leon but in my favorite, Michoacan. And I know my parents do to because they always talk about how different and relaxing times are for everyone there and how there is a sense of a stronger community.
This trip presented me with so many challenges. Good ones of course but still they tested not only my physical strength but also my emotional one. And now looking back I feel happy with the results of how I overcame the challenges and feel strength in myself to take on new challenges, knowing I can with the proper mindset get through them and be a better person in the end for doing so. I know feel confident in my hip (which I dislocated a few years ago and have been terrified of hurting it, preventing me from doing things I enjoy such as extensive hikes, etc.) to endure much of anything and allow me to enjoy myself on hikes, in the water and even suspended in the air. My fear is gone and has instead been replaced with new found strength which is a refreshing feeling that I am more than happy to welcome.
Love, Appreciation & Joy
These three things I felt immensely from the first hour of the trip to the very last second of it and felt it for the country we were in, the natural world seen in it and most of all for the people, now great friends, who were there with me experiencing it all as well. In the few weeks we were there we each bonded and learned about each other. Some nights we would mindlessly play card games and laugh like there was no tomorrow while others we would sit, enjoy each other’s company, watch a movie and share our fears and hopes. A week before leaving we were already planning reunions and even another trip abroad because we did not want it to end or have our company come to an end. I’m thankful to have shared the experiences I did while abroad with the people I did and even more thankful to call them friends.
It’s safe to say I’m missing Australia; the plants and animals there, the people, culture, food and the memories created. But it is not a bad sadness it’s a good one that only reminds me of all the happiness that was felt and continues to make my heart do somersaults. But I know and have hopes that this will not be the end of everything that was experienced, shared and felt and that with time I will be able to go back to the wonderful country, possibly even with my mates, and live it all over again.
One of the movies a few of us saw together was The Secret life of Walter Mitty which was the most appropriate movie to see while abroad for it emphasized the power of travel and of relationships formed as a result of it.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” – Walter Mitty