zaterdag 19 maart 2016

What travelling teaches me

Hey there!

I know I didn't keep my promise to sketch weekly, as I haven't uploaded anything this week. I will do another blog post later with more sketches/drawings. But first, I would like to talk about something else, that's been on my mind for a while now. It might be a little incoherent because my thoughts are going cray cray, but excuse me for that.
Tuesday, the 15th of March, it was one year ago that I left The Netherlands for three months. It was the start of my amazing experience in Málaga. And this year, on that same day, I left Denmark after a five day trip - I visited friends that I made in Málaga. Symbolic, right?

In general, my gap year taught me a lot. In the beginning, I was working on some personal issues and improved each day. I went out a lot with my best friends and worked my ass off. I became so much more confident and got to know myself better. 
Though, going to Málaga was a whole new experience and has brought me a lot more than I could have ever expected. 
I arrived on a Sunday evening, without having food or any knowledge about the city. My Chinese flatmate offered me a roast potato with mayonnaise. I mean, at least I had dinner at 9 pm! Later that evening I got to know a lot more people from our language school and that's where it all started.
Yes, I was feeling alone and yes, I Skyped home to tell them I didn't know if this was what I wanted. But I needed that talk one time and within a couple of days, I was settled, had made friends and was enjoying my time.

I remember meeting Neeta, a young woman from the USA. I had just come back from a Sunday run and suddenly she stood there in the kitchen. "Oh my god, I didn't know you were coming! But take everything you need if you want!", I said. The next day, we were lying on the beach for hours, talking about our lives. 10 years of difference in age, no problem. So much connection, laughter and love. I don't know how to describe it. She said to me: "If people aren't making you happy, why are you hanging out with them?" And as simple as it sounds, that is the best advice I've ever had. I still think about it quite often.

Then, the endless, lovely conversations I had with Sarah, on my balcony, playing Fifty Shades of Grey music. Stine and me missing each other while being together already. Sharing all the love in the world with Norah, mi hermana, in Córdoba. The parties and beach days with the whole group, eating out every other night, allll the other amazing people I have met both last spring and summer... It was all like a huge holiday. But apart from the fun, I started realising something. 
Life is so much more than just having a career, money, kids and a house. It sounds cliché, but I really felt like this when I was in Spain. People there are living, they are enjoying life. Of course it helps that the weather is very good and the beach is nearby, but it just seems like they don't need a lot to be happy - and that's how I felt as well.

I started studying in Eindhoven in September and it took me a long time to get into the flow and step out of my Málaga dream. Though, I managed to do that and I've built up my life here quite well. We have to create a vision and reflect all the time here at university. I like to do that, and it got me thinking of what I want with my life in the future. As much as I enjoy studying here, designing and creating, I'm not sure whether that's what I want to do until I retire. Don't get me wrong, I love learning and I'm definitely not lazy when it comes to studying. I'm actually quite ambitious, and I definitely want to finish this. It's just that your studies don't necessarily define your future.

Often, I feel like I should live in a country with more sun. Get a handsome partner. Start up a small and cute bed & breakfast. Work hard (but enjoy it!). Meet people from all over the world. Go to the beach every day. Do yoga. Drink an occasional (or maybe more than occasional) cocktail. Save up money to travel. Be happy.
I know this sounds idealistic and you might think: well, Josie, don't we all want that dream life? Just finish your studies and then we'll see. Maybe we do, but we're all holding back because we think it's not possible. Or it's stupid to get a uni degree and then "throw away your life".
But no, I have never felt as happy as when I was in a foreign country, with those great international friends, in the sun. And visiting them again makes me realise even more that I may be someone who just needs to be around different languages and cultures, going back to the basics of human needs. Give a big amount of love and get a lot in return. I feel so inspired by people like Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl) or just people who decide to risk everything that's fixed in their countries to find their happiness in something that's unknown. I want that.

I just want to thank all the people that I've met while travelling, because you've all contributed to me becoming a stronger, happier and richer girl. Including the bad experiences and the too drunk nights. It was all for a reason. I hope to meet many more inspiring people in the future <3

Norita and me in Córdoba

XO, Josie

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