Whenever I have troubles with insomnia (or have homework to procrastinate) I travel somewhere. However, these journeys do not involve airports or planes and bidding farewell. These quests simply require the use of one simple tool: my computer, so I can access my photo albums! And a big thanks to Marty McFly, because we all learner and know that the best ways to travel…is back in time.
The moment my eyes see a photo, I can instantly travel the networks of my brain to that specific memory. The details of each photo contains vary, but each have some sort of thought and memory. The simple facts about the photo are what come the quickest; the location, time range/date, who is in it, what camera I used, etc. And automatically the rest of the information will be accessible. I.e. what or who inspired me to take the photo, who it was intended for, what I did that day and who I was with, my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I could remember my goals, accomplishments, motivations, and even if I bought something that day.
On occasion it can be difficult; the desire to travel will become ineberating to the point that I feel imprisoned; I see people who I miss and wish to be close to; I even can remember events that I’ve tried to annihilate from my memory. Yet the absolute worst part, is when I am not able to recognize the individual staring back at me in the photo…but in reality, it is just me looking at a photo of myself. Nevertheless, the contents of my history cannot be tampered with. They are permanent (whether I like it or not) and each one has shaped me into the person I am today. These memories for better or for worse, have taught me many life lessons and they will continue to to teach me more. And with every storm that came into my life, I was fortunate enough to have the support and care I needed and could ever wish for.
As each day passes I am approaching the end of my stay in this island of paradise. To say that I am feeling sentimental about this chapter of my life ending, is an understatement. I don’t know where to start because I can easily contradict what I say with another thought. For example, I am thankful for all the experiences I have had in Puerto Rico. I got lost in Old San Juan, explore and watch monkeys in a forest in Cabo Rojo, enjoy the beautiful bioluminescent bay in Parguera, celebrate Oktoberfest in Bavaria, jump from old ship docks at Crashboat, Aguadilla, celebrate a beautiful wedding in Mayagüez, and not to mention sunbathe in various beaches. However, I was not able to travel to as many places as I would have enjoyed to go. I failed to visit the caves, go zip lining, explore the Yunque rain forest, and see many Puerto Rican cities. It did not take many days to live here to realize that it is necessary to buy/rent a car in order go to places; because the public transportation here is non-existent and nagging your local friends only works a few times. I cannot blame them, for they have lived here their entire lives and have many more years to visit the places they have not yet seen, whereas I have until December 22 to do so. This is why I always tell myself that it is necessary to do as much as possible in a country that I am visiting because I would rather be content with what I have done than regretting the experiences that I failed to complete. Before traveling I always tell myself that this is a one in a lifetime experience, and I do not know if I would be able to return again. By convincing myself of this uncertainty, it helps my motivation to adventure as much as possible.
Being an exchange student also brings in another factor. In reality, I came here to study and perfect my Spanish. I should be giving school my first priority, not traveling. However, what is the point of doing an exchange program, if the entire time you are stuck in school or your apartment? It is a fine balance that I feel so many people struggle with when they go on exchange. As I look back on my entire semester, I can admit that there are multiple instances where I should have focused on my school career and failed to do so. Because I did come to Puerto Rico to help my knowledge in another language, I luckily do not need just a classroom to accomplish this. As I am sitting and writing this I can say that my Spanish has improved since I have been here. Sometimes it has been difficult because so many people start speaking in English because they can see that I either have difficulty speaking in Spanish or that I have said a word in the conversation because I am spending the entire time translating. I enjoy that they speak to me in English because it is a lot easier talking in my native tongue; however I did not come to Puerto Rico to do so.
Overall, Puerto Rico has treated me well. Although I cannot wait to see my family at home and see my friends I have abandoned, I will be very sad leaving this island. It will forever be a part of my life, for it has given me so much. I knew coming here I would have an experience of a lifetime, however I am pretty sure I didn’t expect it to be this great. This only makes me crave to be finished with school so I can travel even more.
I am laying on a beautiful sandy beaches. Now i am constrained to a chair while trying to convince myself I can study and work on homework. But not to long until I have to walk down nine flights of stairs to run of to my classes knowing that I am required to pay attention to and if my thoughts venture somewhere other then my teacher I am lost for the entire class. The best time of the day is when I am able making food to pass me by or preferably explore restaurants and eat my favorite meal ever…rice, beans, tostanos, and meat. However, I still find time to have a social life because by ten a night I leave my apartment once again to go tall to friends and drink. But who has the time to work out, when there is something always going on?
When I am home I tend to be a rather active person. I enjoy going to the gym because I am able to relieve my built up stress and further procrastinate my homework. I typically have some sort of motivation to get to the gym (all the pages of hot fit females I follow on Instagram) but when I get incredibly busy or when I am traveling my exercise decreases. The longer I stay sediment, the more I start to scrutinize myself…which is not fun for anybody.
My thought process of when I would/could work out went …
I could wake up 6 every morning, and go on a run then…but who wants to wake up that early, and lets not mention how hard it is to wake up at that time when you have been drinking since 3AM the night before.
I could wait until after school is out and go then… but then factor in the fact that I am exhausted by that point of the day from school and the heat, I am thinking of all the homework I should be doing and whether it is raining or not and it is possible to go on a run.
Slowly but surely I am starting to find ways to stop making excuses and pull a Shia LaBeouf and JUST DO IT. I found that even though I am a complete zombie at 6AM, it is a lot easier to convince myself to run at that point rather then at 6PM. I am also trying to attend zumba classes and yoga classes. Although I do not exactly like the classes sometimes, at least it is movement! I do have to give a lot of credit to my roommate who helps me be motivated to run. Everybody needs a cheerleader, she is mine and I am hers.
Because I am away and don’t have access to everything I would if I was at home, I have to be creative. Instead of doing weights, I do a workout at home. Instead of weighing myself, I take photos of body in different angles every month to later compare. I also personally like to measure different parts of my body and record it and see where and how much I have gained or lost.
- Don’t try to loose weight while abroad, just try to maintain it.
- Stop making excuses, there is time for everything.
- Prioritize your time.
- Attend classes like Zumba and Yoga that the school offers. Classes like these are fun, and people are there to attend the class, not judge who sucks or not.
- Work out with people/find people who like running, swim, etc.
- Like weights but don’t have access? Research at home workouts, or find a close by gym.
- Take photos of your progress.
Until next time, pura vida mis amores!
I have not traveled many places before coming to Puerto Rico, but the places I have gotten an experience to travel to (outside of mainland USA) are Costa Rica (6 months) and Nicaragua (2.5 weeks.) I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to say I have been to these beautiful places and hopefully my travels will not end anytime soon.
As I was preparing to come to Puerto Rico I was mixed with many emotions (and no it is not because I am a female.) Meeting new people, adventuring to new places, eating/trying new food, the thrill of it all are what I absolutely love about traveling. As time progressed to my departure date, I started realizing I was experiencing more anxiety rather then what I should be…excited. Considering that this was not only my second time leaving Colorado but also when I left for Costa Rica I only felt excited, it did not make sense to me that I was so anxious. As I laid in my bed countless nights (due to insomnia) I realized I was scared due to the fact it wasn’t going to be the same. It wasn’t going to be Costa Rica, I wasn’t going to have the two best friends, it wasn’t USAC, I don’t know who my roommate is, it just was not going to be the same. To be completely honest it took me a couple days to admit that I was even experiencing this problem. I kept saying to myself, “You knew it wasn’t going to be the same,” “You say you like traveling, but your scared of going to Puerto Rico.” and it kept going on and on.
On top of the argument taking place in my head, I had spent less time packing and more time in preparing for my trip by buying things (shower necessities, sunblock, etc.) Typically I would say doing both is very beneficial because if you spend too much time packing it is worthless because you are bound to forget something and if you buy too little then you have to go to the grocery store a lot. I have heard various people from both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico say they have wished they brought more things from home once the first month rolls by. However, there is an amount that is NOT ok. I was so confident that my both of my suitcases were under 50lbs, it hit me like an unexacting bat to the face to when I got to Denver International Airport and both weighed around 80lbs. Luckily, I was about 2.5 hours early and my flight was at night so it was almost deserted. Thus meaning, it was a lot easier to frantically go through my bag and determine on the spot what I needed and didn’t need while occasionally looking up at the people working and the people in line giving me the “I pity you” stare.
Now I am sitting here in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico in my apartment, right next to my roommate (who I absolutely adore) and I have LOVED everyday I am here! It has reminded me to why I absolutely love traveling and makes me crave to do more!
My tips for future travelers who are planning another excursion:
- It is ok to be nervous when traveling even if you have gone somewhere before. You are only human, and if the place you are going to is completely foreign to you, you have a right to be nervous. People are naturally very unsettled about the unknown.
- What ever you do, DO NOT compare. It will only end in disaster and will only promote bad thoughts and experiences.
- Make sure to pack light but not too light. You don’t want to be like me in the airport but you also don’t want to come here realizing you only have two pairs of underwear either.
- It is normal to be nervous and excited at the same time, although it is rather confusing at times.
- Try to not overthink, everything tends to get more complicated when you over analyze.
- Everything will be just fine, and just remember to have fun!
Until next time mis amores! I hope this helped!