Before going to college, I would be terrified to go places by myself. My favorite cafes, the cafeteria, the park: places you would normally go with people always seemed awkward and off limits. Walking in, sitting alone at a table, looking lost and unsure of what to do is not a feeling I would wish on anyone. I would feel like the other patrons were looking at me wondering what a girl was doing alone in a public place and then silently judging me. Doesn’t she have any friends? She must be waiting for someone. Aw, poor thing here by herself. But I wasn’t appreciating the moment for what it was: time I could spend with myself getting work done without distractions and just being me.
“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery and time to yourself not surrounded by the ghosts of your friends and family. The other day, when I was feeling confined by my house, I went to my local coffee shop by myself to do some reading.
I ordered a London Fog (earl grey tea with vanilla syrup and almond milk) and sat down at a solitary table to read. I ended up staying almost three hours just enjoying the music, the atmosphere, and the comforting smooth warmth of tea traveling down my throat every time I would get to a break in the chapter, or the end of one.
Even though I was alone in public, I didn’t feel lonely. By reading a book, I didn’t even feel present in the café. I was off in Paris walking along the Seine and admiring the Eiffel Tower. I wasn’t distracted by a television, my phone, the computer, or the fact that I wasn’t hanging out with friends and it was the most content I’d been all day.
So, I’d say spending time by yourself is underrated. Taking time for yourself in a public place shouldn’t be an embarrassing social stigma.
A couple days later, I found myself in Starbucks trying their new Sweet Cream Vanilla Cold Brew. Now, I don’t go to Starbucks very much, because I find it crowded most of the time, but I found a place at the bar and settled in with my phone, paging through twitter and Instagram, and looking up information on road trips, traveling abroad, and digital cameras.
“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Being a college student obsessed with the dream of traveling is never a good combination. But that shouldn’t prevent me from living the life I want. As the cool refreshing taste of bittersweet vanilla espresso slid over my tongue, I realized that I will never have the money to do whatever I want, no matter how much I save, so why not get out and see the world while I’m still young?
The past couple weeks I’ve been following a Youtuber: FunForLouis as he travels around the world for a living, filming his adventures, taking pictures, and enjoying life on a broader scale than I can even imagine. I knew I wanted to live my own adventure. Being inspired by Louis (and the deposit of my first paycheck from my new summer job), I purchased a “Live the Adventure” jumper and decided that as soon as I was able, I would make my traveling dreams a reality. I’m thinking a cross-country road trip followed by some time abroad.
If anyone wants to come along, let me know! And I would love to hear about your traveling experiences! What are some of the adventures you’ve had and the places you’ve been?
Published by Anne Long