The Ocean, The Waves, and Thoughts on Life

25 de marzo de 2013

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

-Jacques Yves Cousteau

The sound of wind that is oh so familiar if you’ve ever rolled down the window when you’re driving, or ridden your bike on a breezy day fills my ears.  I am in neither of those places though, I’m on a beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay.  I’ve come here on a group trip for the students on my study abroad program whom have chosen to do a directed research project during our time here in Buenos Aires.  For this weekend though, it’s time to hit the beach and relax for me.

Each time I spend time at the ocean, I reaffirm my love for the water and the beach.  There is something entirely different in this setting than other moments in life.  Is it that I am not sitting in a classroom, or in a meeting; that I can feel the sand between my toes and the water upon my skin.  That I can taste the salt and let the waves crash around me.  Each time I am at the ocean, I find time to contemplate my life, my situation, my dreams and aspirations, and what has ensued in order for me to stand in the sand before the ocean at that very moment.  Listen to my breathing, the air whooshing past my ears, and the sun casting its rays upon my skin.

This time though as I look out at the horizon, it was a little different.  Last semester I studied on a very nontraditional program, not spending much time in a classroom, but rather learning via outside meetings with politicians, survivors, NGOs, and other valuable people and organizations for understanding the realities of Central America.  Here in Buenos Aires though, I’ve been finding it very hard to motivate myself to re-enter into the typical structure of organized education.  I’ve come to know, that yes I enjoy it, but at the same time, I’d much rather just be traveling and experiencing the culture.  I know the immense value that a college education can provide, but I also know the immense value that a travel education can provide as well.  I am concerned about how I will re-enter into life back at home when I return to upstate NY.  If I am having trouble getting back into the swing of things here in Buenos Aires, how I can imagine myself re-entering into life back on campus.  5 classes a semester, clubs, working, and other obligations.

There’s part of me that would love to take the next semester off to travel and relax.  Then there is the rational part of me that forces me to realize that I am one year away from completing my undergraduate education.  After that, I am as free as a bird.  I can’t help but wonder about how I can go about making a life out of traveling, and living by the ocean.  There is so much that I want to see in this world.  I haven’t even seen Argentina yet.  Argentina covers a vast area, and contains geography that is unprecedented in other parts of the world.  Why not drop everything and travel?  Oh yeah, school.  Almost forgot about that.

This past year has been a year of travel for me.  I am eternally grateful for all of the experiences I have been fortunate to have; all of the people I have met, and the moments that I have lived.  So, what’s wrong with staying in one spot for a couple of semesters, and just putting my nose to the grindstone and finishing out my education on track?  It’ll be a lot of work, no doubt.  It creates stress and anxiety.  But I’ve gone through it before, and worked through it in a healthy manner, so why not one more year?  Not to mention, my friends that will be on campus, whom I’ll work and graduate alongside.  Am I willing to give up the college experience for time to travel?…

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