Something has been on my mind lately, and it’s not going away. Many of my friends have been travelling and going away on weekend trips to Budapest, Rome, Bergen, Helsinki, you name it. Although the traveller in me is always happy to live vicariously through my friends pictures and stories, there was and is always a little pang of jealousy that lingers after. Where is this little nagging feeling coming from?
To be honest, I haven’t been travelling much. And that is most likely to be the reason for my envy.
I’ve been very busy recently after undertaking a type of internship/applied work position instead of regular class (still counts for 15 ECTS. It’s called working the system, homies) ~I will talk about this at a later date so if you’re interested, stay tuned~ . However, it means 9 to 5 days. The 9 part varies highly on my snooze button which sometimes HAPPENS to snooze itself *ahem* until 10 am. It has taken a lot of time and energy out of me. Working for PhD students and professors means a lot of work.
So through my slight jealousy, I started rationalising and looking at the positives of not travelling far and wide. And just to clarify, I HAVE been travelling. My idea of travel is just slightly different, which brings me on swiftly to the title of this entry.
Everyone has their definition of what it is to travel. Personally, I find that I prefer getting to know one place very well over going to many places and only skimming the surface. When I took a year out after school, it was a no-brainer for me that I was going spend an extended amount of time in one place. And in a way, that is what I am doing in Lund.
I want to get to know this town and it’s surroundings. After all, this is my Erasmus in SWEDEN. So, that’s what I’m doing. Southern Sweden is my home. And to live like a local would here, I’m not going on fancy trips every weekend.
I want to point out that this would be a different story if I were very far away, somewhere like Canada or Australia (which, fair enough, are pretty big. Any long travel around there and I would still be in said countries). As a life-long European, I’ve seen a lot of it and there is not much need for me to go travelling too much. Understandably, if you’re from the other side of the world, you’re going to want to see as much as possible.
To help understand what I mean (and justify to myself as to why I shouldn’t be too worried about my infrequent travels) I’ve made a little list. Everyone loves a good list (it’s also a weakness of mine, lists are the best).
- You save money – duh. Living in an expensive country like Sweden, travel definitely comes at a price. Although I did receive a nice little sum from the British Council (lots of love, you guys are the real MVP), it’s always nice to save and have it there for when you really need it. I’ve actually moved my money to a saving account so I don’t “accidentally” spend it on the ASOS sales. Or that new coat in & Other stories… it’s a really nice coat though.
- Just because you’re on your year abroad doesn’t mean you have to go crazy. Maybe you can save the money for a longer trip during the summer? You’ll be able to go with some great friends you’ve made over the year, and let be honest, everything is nicer in the summer. Nobody wants to be wet and miserable in Warsaw in January when you could totally go in the summer when it’s hot and (and this is a big and) THERE’S NO MORE SCHOOL. So just think: Is it really only NOW that I can travel? Will my life end if I don’t spend a day and a half in Prague?
- A point I made earlier, you are on your ERASMUS – You are not international. Take your time, it’s not a rush. You aren’t in Europe for the first time in your life. And for people like myself, this year actually counts towards a) my final grade and b) my entry into third year Zoology. Some people have amazing time management skills and others are extremely gifted and clever. I, however, have to actually work quite hard to cram things into my long-term memory. And my time management skills are more of a last minute stress thing. This point applies to people differently, and if you can do it and keep your grades up then fantastic. Do it! I will be jealous and in awe of your crazy skills.
- What’s the best thing about making friends on your Erasmus? Contacts and hence, couches to sleep on. You will meet people from all around the world and that’s basically free accommodation. They can also serve as a personal tour guides when you visit them, which is awesome. QUESTION: Where do I go to for that long weekend in April? ANSWER: Wherever your friends live. Obviously, check with them first. And this is a point more for after your year out. I am totally doing this when we all go back to our respective universities.
- I’m fairly certain that I’ve made this point already, so this is just a recap: Make friends with the local students of your university. They’re going to know a load of places you never even thought of. For example, I asked my friend Robin from southern Sweden where he would recommend I go for a couple of days. Somewhere not too far and with nice scenery. He strongly recommended Mölle, and by golly was it pretty. My boyfriend and I stayed in a little renovated fisherman’s shed which was right next to the sea, and spent a cosy couple of nights in a wonderful place, surrounded by some beautiful nature. Right on.
- Swedish people LOVE christmas. Seriously, I think it’s the only thing that gets them (and pretty much everyone else in the northern hemisphere) through the dark and dreary winter months. And that got me thinking: Why not spend christmas here? It would be unique to spend a christmas abroad (something I have never experienced), so why not do it where you’re studying? You could even just stay with friends who are not going home, and spend a very different christmas than to what you’re used to. Wouldn’t it be lovely.
I don’t think that a couple points there were really answering my main question, but I’ll keep them in there anyway. I want to reiterate that these are my personal opinions and you may completely disagree with some of these statements, and that is perfectly ok. If you have something nice to say to me or have any questions however, my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some quick pics of what I’ve been doing recently: