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Off-Campus Study & Exchanges - Skidmore College

Traveling Alone within Traveling Alone

One of the most empowering experiences I had while studying abroad was being able to travel by myself. By studying abroad in Spain, I had the fortune of being able to travel cheaply to places such as Prague, London, Lisbon, and Rome with friends. However, I wanted to know what it was like to go to a new country that I’ve never been to, and I wanted to have the responsibility of navigating it by myself.

So, I chose Paris! I had always wanted to go to Paris so that I could experience the famous Parisian atmosphere that everyone always talks about. Ernest Hemingway even repetitively commented that the inspiration for his writing came from sitting at a Parisian café and absorbing the scenery around him. I filled a backpack with the bare necessities, and with my new notebook in hand, I ventured off to Paris on a Friday morning.

I had already planned everything I wanted to see. All I needed to do was get myself to the Eiffel Tower from the airport, and then the rest of the day I could walk. Fortunately, there was a cheap bus leaving from the airport and heading directly to the Eiffel Tower, so without hesitation, I got on and began my day. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time nearly made me trip over myself – I was so in awe that I was actually in Paris seeing it with my own eyes. I climbed all of the stairs to the tippy top and Facetimed my parents, who were just waking up and getting ready to go to work. “Guess where I am?” I said, and then I flipped the camera and showed them where I was. Needless to say, they got all excited and jealous at the same time, and it was really fun to say hi to them as I overlooked Paris.

That Friday, I walked over 10 miles while also frequently stopping to take pictures and write about what I was seeing and doing. I got to choose how my whole day went; I got to walk at my own pace, listen to music, or listen to the French language filling the air around me. To find out about how I spent the rest of my day, you’d have to read my notebook! Or, instead of reading about my experience, pick out your own notebook, design your own adventure from scratch, and then do it.


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