The second post in the series is a little different. For the first time, The Big Picture has a Guest Author. Amanda Yats is studying public relations and is a fellow travel enthusiast. This summer she spent a few short weeks exploring England with a few friends. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @amanda_yats and on Instagram at @amandalynn_28. Enjoy!
If you are interested in being a Guest Author for The Big Picture send me a Direct Message (DM) on Instagram: @vince_thurman1 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going Abroad- A Love Affair with England
Picture in your head the opening scene from Love Actually – set in London Heathrow airport. Family and friends warmly and lovingly greet one another as they reunite. Hugs and smiles are available in abundance, and Hugh Grant’s voice over is telling you that love actually is all around.
When I stepped out of the baggage claim area into the arrivals gates of London Heathrow, I wasn’t looking for a specific person or embrace, but I felt an immense love for a country and culture I was about to experience for the first time.
Even though my visit in England lasted for a short three weeks, I had fallen in love.
My first few days we rather rough; I had a sinus infection, which didn’t mix well with a six-hour flight. Regardless of my sore throat and congested sinuses, I couldn’t help by marvel at the rolling green hills spotted with sheep, endless Lion candy bars and the Walkers Quavers that we encountered as we drove south away from the bustle of London.
One of my first meals across the Pond was a traditional, full English breakfast. I remember thinking that I would never be satisfied with breakfast back in the States after experiencing such a filling meal.
Along with the delicious food, I admired the differences and similarities of the English culture compared to that of the United States. There were so many seemingly small moments that made me fall in love with life and the world over again during the trip.
Here are just a handful:
- Standing on the beach in Perranporth watching the sun set and kicking around a soccer ball with my professor and classmates
- Looking over the breathtaking landscape of the English coast while standing where the alleged castle of King Arthur once belonged
- Having my heart pound in my chest as I jumped onto my first tube in London’s Underground
- Visiting the spot where the Mayflower departed in Plymouth and eating my first traditional fish and chips meal
- Getting kicked off the famous lion statue in Trafalgar Square after trying to take far too many photos of the same double decker bus
These moments where just a few snapshot memories that initially come to mind when reflecting back on my trip abroad. I could (and often have) gone on and on to my friends and family about how my time spent experiencing other countries and cultures has positively influenced me.
On one of our last nights in England, our professor told us something that I continue to find strikingly true, as well as applicable once someone goes abroad.
He said that once you go abroad, or begin to travel anywhere really, you can never truly come home again. While the place you once called home has stayed mostly the same during your time away, you’ve changed. So therefore the person you were when you left doesn’t come home; the person you are now will come back, but you will never be the same after your experiences.
I think the following quote from the late F. Scott Fitzgerald sums up the idea fairly accurately:
“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.”