1 Year of Whitmanythoughts

A few days ago, a sweet little memory popped up on Facebook: my first blog post on Whitmanythoughts. I cannot believe it has been a year since I started writing about my travels. I feel like I have written so much, yet have so much more to share.

I have expressed over and over again how amazing of a year it has been and how thankful I am for all I have gotten to experience. From traveling around Europe for two weeks with my grandfather to skiing in Park City, Utah with my dad, it has been a thrilling ride.

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I often wonder what will happen to my blog after I finish my time here in Australia. I know I won’t actually be traveling for quite some time, so I won’t have so many new and exciting things to write about. I can definitely see my content changing a bit to adapt to my (not as cool) lifestyle back at home. I do want to focus on my feelings a bit more and incorporate them into my writing so it is not so cut and dry. In the end, I realize I control my blog and as long as I like it, everything is dandy. In reality, every day is a new adventure, and I know I will have things to talk about.

Plus, this is WhitmanyTHOUGHTS for a reason: I have oodles of thoughts and I want to share them. I have so many things constantly swirling through my mind that I would love to turn into “thought” posts. I am not looking for fame with this site, and I am so happy with the 100 followers that I have. Although it would be nice to turn this blog into something larger in the future, I am so contented writing for the sake of my own memory and for my family.

I do have so much to still share. I have posts from my weekend getaways in Italy last summer as well as my extended trips in Australia this semester saved in my computer, yearning to see the light. Although I won’t be “traveling,” I have so many exciting things coming up in the second half of the year, from summer at the shore to a Fall Concert Series 2.0 to hopefully spending some time with international visitors…but I will just keep it at that.

My global travels may soon be over, but the adventures continue. Life is beautiful.  It is not always perfect, but one thing I have been reminding myself is that life does not give me obstacles that I cannot handle. Here’s to the last year of travel, here’s to my time left in Australia and here is to the next year of Whitmanythoughts.

Whitmanythought1: This has been the most epic year of my life and I am so thankful.

Whitmanythought2: How do I still have friends on Facebook with all the posts I share?

Whitmanythought3: Can I just keep travelling for another year?

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Thoughts on Turning 21

I remember turning 10 years old and having my mom say, “You’ll be in double digits for the rest if your life!” I thought that was scary. I recall becoming a teenager and having some friends over for some Wii Olympics. I remember deciding whether or not I should have a sweet 16. Turning 18 was an exciting day because I was finally a “legal adult.” My friend surprised me with balloons and I had more friends over for a bonfire that night. Then, I left my teenage years behind and said hello to “the best years of my life.” Now, I am 21 and I am speechless.

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I turned 20 last year and I had just confirmed that I would be studying abroad during the summer. I did not do anything special on my birthday, but formal was right after it, so I counted that as my celebration. I was ready to take on a new year and navigate through whatever came my way. I had no idea that 20 would treat me so well. I visited Costa Rica with my father and sister, explored Europe with my Pop Pop, I lived in Italy for a month and made some memories that are not even comparable to those from Australia. I landed my first internship at a big company and I even tried the college dating scene last fall. Then, I was lucky enough to ski in Park City, Utah for the first time with my dad and head to London with one of my best friends for two weeks. Of course, it was not all happy—I lost one of my closest friends growing up and experienced heartbreak—but that is all part of life. Regardless, I am in awe when I think about the last year and I am forever grateful for it.

I usually don’t get too stoked for my birthday because it just means I am one year older. Of course it is always exciting to have people reach out to wish me a nice day and have a bit of attention, but I never got extremely into it. Although I usually don’t get too wild about my birthday, this year was different. With this birthday, I would finally be “legal” in the eyes of American nightlife. I would have finished 10% of my twenties. This year, I am surrounded by people I basically just met who told me I had no choice but to celebrate my birthday and it feels awesome. This year, I am actually eager to become another year older because it means I am growing, learning and experiencing.

I feel so much love this birthday from all around the world. I had people from America  texting me “Happy early birthday,” I had people from New Zealand and Europe wish me a great day and I had all my friends and acquaintances here showing me love. Nothing is better than feeling loved and celebrated on my special day. It is pretty cool, because I feel like I have two birthdays since it is May 2 in Australia 12 hours before it is in America. I’ll have to keep this in mind during my birthday celebrations in the future.

I am so grateful for all the things I got to experience, all the new people I got to meet and all the new places I got to see during my twentieth year of life. It will be hard to top what I think was the best year of my life, but who knows what the future holds. With that being said, I am so thrilled to see what this year has in store for me. Wow, 21.

Skyping Across the World

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I just skyped with two Europeans. One was in Rome and the other was traveling who knows where in Europe. The things that technology can do are amazing. Even more amazing, however, are the projects these two Europeans I connected with are using technology for and the fact that I get to work with them this summer.

During my Roman study abroad trip through The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, better known as “SCO in Rome,” I will be working with a nonprofit called “Shoot4Change.” This group binds together amateur and professional photographers, videographers, designers and artists who shoot humanitarian exposures. The group’s motto is “Shoot Local, Change Global.” The aim is to engage in photo storytelling to bring local social issues to life, free of charge. S4C believes that information can change lives and that everyone should be free to express his views and opinions.

The group of students and I, also known as the self-dubbed “Hofstra Romans,” are super excited to dive into Roman culture by working with S4C. So far, we plan to help with some of its biggest projects: documenting the serious political consequences from the earthquake in L’Aquila that destroyed the area several years ago and the Syrian refugee crisis. The gentleman we skyped with, Antonio Amendola, the founder of the Shoot4Change, and Andrea Ranalli, seemed equally enthusiastic.

The next time I speak to them, it will be in person in Rome, Italy. Stay tuned for more updates!

 

Opportunities are Meant for Taking

When I wrote the article, “How to Plan a Study Abroad Trip,” for my first internship last year, I had never actually been on a study abroad trip. I wrote it with the advice of others who have planned trips abroad, common sense and with a hope that I too would one day get to travel abroad for my studies. That time is less than a month away.

I have always been ready to go wherever, whenever. I recall playing at my friend’s house in elementary school, who then invited me on a trip to Maryland with her family the next day. I went in a heartbeat. My first time traveling outside America was also in elementary school when I flew to Jamaica for a family vacation. blog1My first time traveling to Europe was with my Pop Pop, when he took me to Paris in sixth grade (How was that almost ten years ago?). I did not find out until recently that apparently I begged him to take me to the City of Love for years. I’m pretty sure I got the travel bug from him, and I am sure glad that it bit me.

Some people don’t have the opportunity to travel abroad, while some don’t see a good reason to. There are some people who enjoy a relaxing beach vacation (me) and others who appreciate a fast-paced and heavy itinerary  (also me). My point in all of this is that I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can and to live life to the fullest. I have been so fortunate with my life experiences thus far, and I hope to be able to expand my horizons through travel throughout my life.

No matter what it is, as long as it is legal, I encourage all people to find something they enjoy and to pursue it. Whether it is seeing concerts, trading cards, singing karaoke, or anything else, it is important to have something that makes one’s soul lively. Taking advantage of every opportunity I can is my way of helping my soul stay lively.

“To travel is to live.”

I saw this quote by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. I do have multiple other things that make me “live,” but traveling is definitely one of them. This resonates with the feelings that exploring new places gives me.

I cannot wait to see where my travels take me whether it’s through a study abroad program or by own endeavors, and I would love for you to come along for the ride.