Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Jared Walsh. Lincoln, Rhode Island.

2 days! My departure date is quickly approaching and I’m not sure how to react. On one hand I’m beyond excited to explore the world and experience a new culture. On the other, I am admittedly feeling a bit uneasy and nervous, for am I a homebody at heart. That mean, old, nasty separation phase is upon me and I’m hoping I can fight it.

In order for it to be a healthy separation I need a strong support system at home. On top of that, I need that support system to be understanding of my situation and what I’m going through; they need to be able to grasp the concept that for a healthy separation, I’ll need to do just that: separate. This past Tuesday most of my family (direct, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents,) all went to out to dinner to celebrate birthdays, the end of the summer, the beginning of a new school year for all the kids, and my going away. We’re a very close family that keeps in contact on a weekly, if not daily basis. After we ate all we could and had a bunch of laughs, I felt the time was right to share with them my separation letter. After all, they are the ones I am closest with and separating from them will be hard. I started by discussing the QU301 course and the purpose behind it (they all loved the idea)! I gave them a brief synopsis on the various phases in the Rite of Passage theory and how separation marks the beginning of my journey. I explained that having a degree of separation from my home life is going to help me grow independently and help me to become a better person, a better member of the global community. I have a feeling that it’s going to be harder on my mother and grandmother than it is on me.

I shared two quotes that really stood out to me as being meaningful and pertinent to the situation. The first quote by Marcel Proust discuses a concept that I’ve looked at in previous QU seminar classes and QU English courses: looking at situations through a different lens and against the grain. His quote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in have new eyes,” quite directly states the importance of viewing travel as adding on an additional lens in your life glasses rather than adding it as a checkmark on a piece of paper. I explained that I needed to remove my “home” glasses in order to fit myself for this new lens and, as part of that, limit my contact with them during this separation. I also discussed a quote by Lao Tzu, “When I let go of what I am I become what I might be.” I used this quote to rationalize this idea of separation; I need to separate from my current world to improve myself. Both my parents and grandparents, who call/text me regularly will definitely hold me back from separating in this way. I think they will have a difficult time not contacting me, which will tempt me to do the same. As with most other students, having my smartphone with social media on it is also going to prove to be a challenge.

To me, having a successful education abroad experience is going to consist of two main things: becoming more independent and becoming immersed in the Spanish / Catalonian language. While coming to QU has certainly made me more independent, living in an apartment separate from the school in a foreign city with no meal plan is going to bring it up a level. With my independence, I will start with little steps – cooking my own meals, exploring a new part of the city alone, and eventually traveling to another country by myself. Immersion in the local language is also something that I am looking forward to and will use to characterize my success. I hope to be able to hold a conversation with a local by the end of the semester!

Sign-questions

The picture I chose is one of a signpost with signs pointing in every direction and labeled with all sorts of questions. My mind right now is racing, for I leave in just a couple of days and still have a lot to do and people I want to say goodbye to, etc. I’m trying to piece together a lot of things and get my mind in the right place to prepare for this Rite of Passage, all while continuing to work long hours. So, as of now at least, I find myself feeling a bit dazed, overthinking things, and trying to keep myself busy. I’m a bit all over the place for the time being, which is why this picture is fitting. After I land in Barcelona I think that will change and I will become more settled and relaxed.

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