Anyone that knows me well can tell you that I love my spreadsheets, maps, schedules and rules any day of the year, and traveling for fun or for school are no different. I'm easily flustered and stressed, can't stand being late, and try to squeeze the sponge as hard as I can of stuff I can learn/see/do in any place. I.e. I planned a month vacation for my family last summer and had all museum passes bought two months in advance, train tickets bought the day we arrived in Rome for the rest of the trip, and every hour of the day planned with an activity and weather-permitting alternative in case of any issue.
Exhausting, I know.
Well this trip has taught me the joys of living literally the opposite of the way I always have. I don't know if I'll permanently change, but I've certainly learned and appreciate it. Here are some quick things I've leaned about traveling. Maybe not quite what the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies expected/wanted me to get out of this trip, but I find them pretty valuable!
1. There is value in trust, flexibility and optimism (three things I don't have much of, including in the context of traveling)
2. Meeting locals is the best way to do things authentically, cheaply and just all-around better. I'm never going anywhere else without doing this.
3. Sicily=Nicaragua -> I love this world. People all around Earth share similar values, and may express them similarly or contrastingly. It's so interesting to learn about how history has shaped cultures today in parallel situations.
4. There are always reasons to go back ANYWHERE. Like NYC, in which I discover something new and energizing every time I visit, all of the places I've been fortunate enough to see this summer and during my life in general, have tons of reasons to go back... charm, friends, food, more sites to see, more time to take in beauty, seasonal festivals, etcetera. It's a beautiful world and there will never be enough time to get enough of any place.