Dear Catherine and Kayla, I did not fully appreciate the fact that I was traveling alone, to a place I had never been, that exists in a different hemisphere until the plane touched down at 6am in the Santiago airport. Leading up to the trip a few people had expressed to me how brave they thought I was for traveling to Chile alone. I had never really thought that was valid nor had I ever considered fully the possibility that I might be scared. This however is coming from a person who didn’t realize they were leaving for college until the day before. But as I touched the icy cold plane window and looked out onto a dark early morning, I realized that I was, in fact, scared, and that while I mightn’t have had it already, it would require a certain amount of bravery for me to succeed in this experience.
But what the hell does that really mean? Firstly, I’m so privileged to be getting the opportunity to travel and to learn. How are luxuries brave? I feel strongly that there is a difference between an international vacation and an international experience. Walking alone through the Santiago airport, ignoring catcalls and the common schemes directed at tourists everywhere like fake taxi rides, I concluded that while I had been out of the United States less than a week ago, my trip to Rome had essentially been like going to a nice hotel in NYC, nothing different but the ambient background language and the sights. Our tour guide and the staff at our hotel all spoke to us in English, our restaurants were chosen by the concierge so we could be avoided the burden of trial and failure, and the wifi was perfect so I could be in constant communication (barring time zone differences) with friends and family from home. **Interesting note I consider my Davidson friends to be friends from home ( a milestone I feel). My trip to Chile, alternatively, will be all about constructive failure. It’s a privilege, of course, but it’s a privilege that will require bravery to achieve and optimism to maintain. Study abroad, unlike vacation, is an experience fueled by failure.
I’ll leave you with this quote. “And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away”- John Steinbeck.
Well I’ve slept till noon and I have an afternoon of exploring Valparaiso togged ready for, and this experience should not be hurried. Safe travels ladies, and as always continuing to hold you in the light.
All my love,