My experience during the short time of five weeks made me realize a few things. For one, the world is bigger than our little bubble of life. It operates in similar but slightly different ways in different areas. It does not operate around just ourselves. I think this mental block may be due to a geographical challenge – we don’t have a bunch of countries around us that are easy and relatively cheap to travel to. Therefore, the ease of experiencing new and different things may be a bit harder to achieve, or you have to seek it rather than be “thrown” into it.
I think the experience of traveling to two different countries, back to back, has really “thrown” me into it, whether I wanted it or not. At times it is actually quite overwhelming to be in a very different place so far from home. My first night in Beijing, I sat down and cried and I didn’t know why… I couldn’t help it. I was so grateful and excited for this trip for so long, why would I be upset? But as I eased into the lifestyle and tried to let the chaos of it all go, I became more comfortable and really learned about operating daily life in a new place. And I really wanted to experience what adapting during travel would be like.
This adaptability does not come naturally, but will improve with more practice. So far, living in four major cities, in seven different housing situations, within the span of two months has given me some practice. I am now situated in the same lovely city of Essen, in a quieter apartment. I had a week of relaxation before I started work, which was really much needed. Traveling takes up a lot of physical and mental energy, and I was so excited to fall into a somewhat regular routine for the rest of the summer.
So here is to a new chapter in my summer, adapting to a slightly different way of operating in the workforce. I will keep posting updates weekly about my small travels and experiences in Essen!