Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Mitchell McGowan. Quincy, Massachusetts

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” The wise words of Rabindranath Tagore show the sentiment I want to share with my family in my letter of separation.

The quote talks about how one cannot grow just by looking at the opportunities in front of them. I cannot go through the process of maturing and becoming an adult by staying in the same environment I am accustomed to. I need to go out there and challenge myself and make the change that I want to be. One does not go through a rite of passage just by declaring themself more mature. You have to stop watching from the shoreline, and find a way to cross the ocean. Once you get through the challenges and reach the other side of the ocean, your rite of passage is over. Going abroad to Australia is both a literal and metaphorical “crossing the ocean” scenario. I want my family to know and understand that if I do not take advantage of the situation and cross the ocean in front of me, I will be watching from the shoreline forever.

I included this quote in my letter of separation because I wanted my family to know that this was something that I felt I needed to do. Before I read them my letter, I felt as though my family would have trouble with letting me go. I knew that they wouldn’t shut down my idea of going abroad, but I realized it was something thing they would struggle with. Sending your son to a school that is two hours away is nothing compared to sending him to the other side of the planet. I wanted them to know that I appreciated everything they were doing for me, but they have to let me experience this for myself.

After speaking to my family, I have realized that the decisions and overall growth is on me. While I am out in the world by myself, I have the support of my family back home. While I am detaching myself and separating from the life I am accustomed to, I know that when I return from my rite of passage my family will be there welcoming me back with open arms.

I do not feel as though I will have a problem with separating from my usually routine. Going to school so far away from home, I feel as though I separate every time I head back to Quinnipiac. When I went to Quinnipiac as a freshman, I was moving away from home to a place where I didn’t know anyone. Because of these constant states of separation every time I go to school or head home, I feel as though it will make the transfer to the Gold Coast easier.

I think that I would say getting good grades and overcoming any challenges that come my way would be a successful abroad experience. Looking at this semester, it seems more like a time where I am learning what it is like to live in the real world and taking care of myself, rather than focus on schoolwork. As long as I continue to grow and accomplish all of my work, I would call it a successful experience. An unsuccessful experience would be if I were unable to separate from home. If I am worrying about what I am missing at home, I won’t be able to separate and grow.

I do not know what type of challenges I will face while I am abroad. Most of the time, the challenges you face are the ones you’re not prepared for. I think that best thing I can do is just roll with the punches and take things one step at a time. It is better to be patient and think things through, rather than rush to find quick solutions. As for the new people and surroundings, I am ready to embrace them. A big part of going abroad for me was the chance to see a world I normally wouldn’t see, and meet new people with different views and beliefs.

The picture I included below is a picture of the dock in my neighborhood. As kids, we would climb, jump off of and hang out along the dock. It is the first place I think of when I hear Tagore’s quote. We used to stand out there and talk about where we wanted to visit, and the people we were going to be in the future. We knew that out past that ocean was land, and that we would have to work hard to find our way there as we got older. It shows that I have worked hard to get to the point where I am standing on the dock, ready to embark out onto the ocean. The rough and stormy sky shows the challenges ahead, but I am ready to weather to storm to get to the other side.IMG_9757.JPG


2 thoughts on “Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Mitchell McGowan. Quincy, Massachusetts

  1. Once sharing my letter with my family, I too remembered that I only have myself to rely on for growth and decision making while abroad. And I was reminded of the great support system I have here at home. I really like the quote you shared with your family and how you explained it. I agree that one cannot just go through the process and expect to come out a new person. You must be engaged and actively participate in new experiences and relationships in order to learn and ultimately grow from your time spent abroad. With that being said, I think some people experience the most amount of growth in ways they least expect. By being patient and realizing that not everything will be perfect, you will be able to handle the unexpected and learn from it.

    I hope you have a great semester and a safe flight!


  2. I liked the quote that you chose. I think it is important when going through life to not just say that you want to do something but to actually do it. It is easy to say that you want to study abroad but it takes a strong, independent person to actually get themselves to study abroad. The picture that you chose is absolutely beautiful and I agree that it represents the quote that you chose. I enjoyed reading your blog post because it made me feel more excited and ready to go abroad.


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