28 March, 2016

Striking the Balance Between Exploring and Traveling - by Erika Olsen

When I was first accepted to the Ithaca College London Center for Spring of 2016, I could not have been more excited. I immediately began writing a list of all the countries I wanted to visit and what I wanted to see in each. I knew I wanted to see Vienna (thanks, Billy Joel), but also the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and who could skip on trying a German pretzel? My list also included Glasgow, Amsterdam, Venice, Brighton, Prague, Norway, Paris, Edinburgh, and many others.

However, as I sat down to write out my calendar, I realized that I would have to shrink my list; I slowly started to realize how short the semester really is, and recognized that, while I really wanted to travel through Europe, I also wanted to see and experience London. I slowly started to cut down my travel list to what was really important to me and wrote out a list of things I wanted to do in London and the surrounding area, such as touring the BBC Broadcasting Centre and exploring Harrods. Slowly, my weekends started to fill up and eventually, I was satisfied with the balance I had reached between traveling and seeing the city I’m living in.

I have already been to Amsterdam, Bath, Wells, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest and have trips planned for Edinburgh, Paris, Nice, and Stratford. I am also looking forward to making a day trip out to Liverpool to see the birthplace of my favorite band, the Beatles. Through my classes and my own curiosity, I will be visiting more museums and palaces, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and Buckingham Palace, and spending time at my favorite markets, including Brick Lane and Borough Market.

While the allure of traveling through Europe and spending the weekends country-hopping is truly tempting, I think it is important for anyone studying abroad to experience their temporary home. London is a city rich in history and culture and definitely has some hidden gems lying in its markets and winding streets. While I am already more than halfway through my time here, I am excited to make the most of the upcoming weeks traveling and spending time exploring all that London has to offer. 

21 March, 2016

Traveling To Expand - by Dillon Watson

Traveling To Expand

            So many times I get caught up in the rush of travelling that I forget to stop and look deeper than my immediate surroundings. In this day and age, travelling can easily become an impartial experience. People are constantly racing around the world just to see as many attractions as possible in the shortest amount of time. There are many benefits and bragging rights to be earned by doing this, but what does it actually accomplish on a deeper level? People are having more and more trouble living in the moment because of the overuse and competition associated with social media. It’s everywhere. From concerts to political rallies to art museums and to national parks, people are getting taken away from the free flowing natural world and are being brought to their safe, planned out, two dimensional platforms.

            As travelers of the world we have to realize how this holds us back. The possibilities if one is able to break free from the restrictions of craving likes on an Instagram picture are endless. When all someone wants to do is get that one clich√© picture in every city they visit, they are not actually going to see the real city. You have to dig deeper, meet people, and experience the culture instead of observing it from afar.

            The main way you can help yourself dig deeper while traveling is by planning less. Planning is a magnificent thing that helps a vacation go smoothly, but I feel as though too much planning in my recent travels has held me back. Just last month I found myself in the streets of Barcelona running around from monument to monument in a feverish fashion trying to cram in as much as possible. It was cool to see so many amazing architectural buildings, but as I left I realized that in comparison to my other, more laid back visit to Athens, I accomplished less.

            By putting yourself on a strict schedule, the unexpected, spontaneous moments that make life so worth living do not occur. It is important while traveling that people open up their peripheral vision and let their surroundings flow into their lives. As I make my way around the world, I like to think of myself as a droplet of water, ready to make my splash, and instantly become one with the land. A droplet of water may be able to choose when or where it falls out of the sky, but it does not control what happens once it hits the ground. All it knows about its future is that it is going to create and expand life.