“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page (Slimbach, 75).” This quote said by St. Augustine really caught my eye because I realized this sums up my study abroad experience. I think St. Augustine missed a key part when trying to motivate people to travel the world, it is important to travel the world and turn the page, but one must fully grasp what each page (or country in this case) has for them. I think that is what separates the different types of people who travel or study abroad.
Slimbach talks about two types of travelers: the mindful traveler and the “carefree drifter.” Having a strong connection to the surroundings is one key thing that separates a “carefree drifter’” from a “mindful traveler.” The carefree drifter is someone who just exists in the area. By exist I mean they just go with the flow and follow the customs, blending in with their surroundings. On the other hand, the mindful traveler becomes part of the community. They actually live there and interact with their surroundings. Through this the mindful traveler develops relationships but physical and emotional which elevate them from simply being in the surroundings to being part of the surroundings. I must admit this task is not simple especially as an American study abroad student at a university with solely study abroad kids. To become a mindful traveler takes a great amount of time and energy, but the reward of becoming a mindful traveler is most rewarding. The one who merely turns the page while traveling the world is a carefree drifter and the one who immerses themselves full in the culture would be considered the mindful traveler.
Mindful traveling should be a key characteristic of international participants in a global community. It is always great to interact with who and what you know, but it is important to get familiar with locations and people around you. A mindful traveler will have more experiences and stories to talk about that has shaped them and changed them. Also they can really say they have created a new home in the global community. I try to be a mindful traveler during my time in Barcelona because I don’t want to come back to America and talk about my experience and only make it seem that I just coexisted with the community around me. I want to come back and tell stories such as, “This is my friend from the neighborhood I lived in while I studied abroad in Barcelona.” This has been a challenge for me in the way people interact here because people here do not really make eye contact with one another or a smirk. I am very used to it growing up outside of New York City where being a carefree drifter is normal and all you want to do is get from point A to point B.
Throughout these few weeks I plan to go to more local places and meet people that are around my age and try to do things with them so I can grasp the real Barcelona and not the study abroad segment of it.
The picture I have chosen really describes mindful traveling because it shows all the key aspects of what a mindful travel should immerse themselves in while they are in their new community. In the picture you see the word culture. Accepting cultural differences and being mindful of how you assimilate to your new surroundings is key as a mindful traveler. This picture portrays the things I would like to get out of Barcelona before my study abroad experience is complete.