What I Didn’t Know I Knew

Before I had this blog, I had a blog. When I was studying abroad and again when I was working in London I maintained a lovely little blogger blog. Before this beautiful monster of a blog existed, my aims were sweet and simple. I wanted to keep in touch with the people at hone, and maybe impress the odd boy or passerby. It had the very nerdy title, “Exploring the Unreal City,” and it was a modest place to expound on my explorations of London, on literature and random bites of culture (I love TS Eliot okay?! Don’t judge).

It's easy to be a writer in London

Recently I spent some time looking back at my old blog postings. It’s kind of like reading an old diary you forgot you wrote. I really said that, thought that, felt that? It’s always fun to stumble across gems like these:

Years from now, when I look back at Christmas 2007, I will always remember it as the year of the leopard print g-string.

Some things are embarrassingly naïve, some are heartbreakingly funny, and some things are just surprisingly eloquent.

Like this post, I wrote on leaving London in December 2006. I’d just spent my first significant time abroad: studying and then backpacking around Italy. I’d gotten my first taste of freedom and clearly wasn’t ready to let that go:

Leaving is like coming down from some incredible high. It has been such a tumultuous year overall and such an amazing three months specifically, that it is hard to think what comes next. What will returning home be like? It seems like everything has changed, but practically everything will be just the same as I left it. It is going to be an adjustment, but at the same time I am so excited for whatever comes next. A few terrific weeks back at home, one more semester at Emory and then- who knows?

I would like to come back to London to live for awhile, if the stars align just right. Or maybe to live somewhere else in Europe. In any case I will definitely be doing more traveling. Next on my wish list are Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Istanbul. One of the most important things I have discovered is the immense power I have over my own fate. Whatever the next step may be I am more than ready to meet it head on.

Proof right there that travel changes you, or at least that travel changed me; from a shy and tentative girl, just starting to make her own decisions, to someone truly empowered. Little did I know, almost four years ago, how far this love of travel would ultimately take me.

Me. My first week in London and so marvelously happy.

After I wrote that post I went back home, finished my degree, temped for a while and raised money while I arranged a work visa to go back to London. A little less than a year later I wrote this post on the eve of my departure.

It’s difficult to describe my feelings. Leaving everything I’ve had here for the past six months is sad, and I am pretty petrified about what the next couple weeks are going to be like until I get myself established. It’s so odd not knowing where I’ll be next week, what my life will be like.

At the same time I believe that overcoming fear is a part of life. Even though this is over whelming now, I know that in the long run this is all going to be so amazing and exciting. I think change is fundamentally good, and even if things suck for a little, they will work out because, well because they just have to. It’s a new chapter, and it should be a pretty exciting one!

When I read this last week, my job just dropped. The main thing that gets me, three years later, is that I had no idea how much I already knew. I was so spot on- it was terrifying to get on that plane, but it was so so worth it in a multitude of life-altering ways. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Reading this, on the eve of yet another departure is comforting for me. I’ve been here before. I’ve been scared, and I’ve taken risks and come out on top. I know it will be the same when I leave in September (in about three weeks- holy crap). I will be slightly petrified I’m sure, but in the end it will be so very right.

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30 thoughts on “What I Didn’t Know I Knew”

  1. It’s always fun reading things you wrote long ago and have forgotten about! That’s great that you journaled throughout that experience so you have something fun to look back on–especially since it turns out you were more insightful than you thought 🙂 Definitely a good reason to keep blogging throughout your upcoming journey!

  2. What a coincidence! 2007, was the year of the leopard print g-string for me too!!

    Just Kidding! (I think…)

  3. I wish I could look back on something from my study abroad…but that was back before we even had blogs. I had to resort to sending postcards and emails to family and friends. And I was stupid enough to not keep a journal during my trip.

  4. I still love looking back at my old blog posts on my personal blog from 2006 and 2007 – blogging truly has transformed my life in more ways than one, and reading the progression of my blog posts over the years always reminds me just how much it’s empowered me.

    1. It’s really neat to see the way I’ve changed and evolved over time- writing is one of the best snapshots for that i think.

  5. So happy for you that you’re on your way here so soon. It really sounds like you are in a great position leaving this time around since you have already moved to London and know what it’s like to be on your own in this capacity. Love that you blogged even then…I studied in Italy but only have a few paltry notes in a journal to document the time…yay for blogging as a way to record the process 🙂

  6. This is a perfect example of why keeping a travel journal (or blog, as the case may be) is so important. So many thoughts and impressions would get lost otherwise, and it’s fascinating to go back and see how we were able to predict the future (or not).

  7. Always good to read old journals. Oscar Wilde has so many great quotes, but this one always makes me smile…

    “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

    Good Luck on your next adventure, and keep a sensational journal.

    stay adventurous, Craig

  8. This is a really excellent post, and one I really agree with. I think that every time I travel, I become a little bit more of who I really am. I think that many people tend to underestimate travel’s ability to change who you thought you were. In my case, it’s that it got me back to the core of who I am and stripped away all that meaningless crap I had picked up in my personality over the years.

    1. “very time I travel, I become a little bit more of who I really am.”

      I agree. I feel like I’m constantly becoming more me, all the time, and travel accelerates it.

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