Still, despite all this, traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt…that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby — I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to — I just don’t care.
--Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
I hate inspirational posters.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because they are JUST THE WORST. Ain’t nothin’ inspiring about bad fonts and stock photos. I also associate them with my seventh-grade English teacher, who turned out to be a pedophile, so there’s that as well.
I’m a product of the public school system, so I’ve been exposed to literally hundreds of inspirational posters in a misguided attempt to keep me from dropping out or something. And I must say, they have all been awful, but one stuck with me: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
As I blogged earlier, I currently have no idea what I want to do with my life, other than travel. I know that I don’t want to be a journalist, but I’m still trying to figure out where I’m meant to be.
Here’s another thing I know: since I made the decision to pursue travel after graduation instead of a career per se, my life has become a million times less stressful and a million times more full of hope. The thought of senior year no longer makes me break out (all these zits are from other stressors).
Because I’m Type-A and an incredible fan of plans, deciding to travel doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about post-grad. Not by a long shot. Instead, here’s what I’ve been thinking:
1) I plan to apply for a Mitchell Scholarship. These scholarships enable seven or so Americans each year to finish a master’s degree at a university in Ireland or Northern Ireland. I’m writing my honors thesis on pop culture representations of the Northern Irish Troubles, so this is definitely an intriguing option! Of course, the odds are pretty slim.
2) I may apply for a Fulbright Scholarship. I am less convinced that this is the right program for me at this point in my life.
3) If I don’t receive a scholarship to go abroad, I think I’ll apply to be an au pair. I love kids and am good with them, so this would be a really interesting way to see the world while being gainfully employed, which is what I’m all about.
Of course, it’s hard to research when you don’t know all the options. What’s your favorite way to go abroad after completing your undergraduate work? Do you have any experience with the options I’m considering?