How to Prepare for a Trip Abroad

Written by: Hilary Garman

 

 
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When I answer the generic, "What are you doing after you graduate?" question, I simply say, "I'm backing 6 countries in Europe." Their response then affirms my choice of post-grad plans or questions my planning experience. Although it is beginning to settle in and become more realistic, the planning that goes into a six countries in six weeks trip is much easier said than done. A lot of thought, and advice, has been given and there are many plans that still need to be arranged, but for now here are some lessons I have learned along the way:

1. Be honest with your triage. I am a dreamer; I like to imagine I'd be able to see all the places I want to see and go all the places I want to go within six weeks but the reality is I can't. The way I have learned to alleviate this sad understanding is to focus on the reality that there are more years ahead of me than behind me and in those years there will be opportunities to visit the places I can pass over this time around. This reality helped me to eliminate London from the list and change my perspective on the basis of why I am planning this trip in the first place. 

2. Be purposeful. As a student I have spent the last formative years studying with a "Euro-Centric" view of the world, however the roots of that view of the world seem skewed when I haven't experienced the roots European history. This form of questioning is the fuel I am using to direct where I go. Additionally, I am a design student and believe design and art play key roles in the development and reaction to my Euro-Centric view of the world.

3. Research. In order to execute understanding this view I have had to go beyond the classroom. A class I took in my second year of college, called History of Graphic Design, sparked my interest in the design. Studying the history of design was helpful but experiencing that history is different. Luckily I have found several resources to help me navigate which cities to go to and what to do in each city. Since I am a Washingtonian I found Rick Steves’ Travel Center great as a general over view. The center provides cases, consulting, and various other resources to plan the logistics of my trip! As far as design goes the CitiX60 books give 60 local recommendations on places to go contributed by 60 local creative individuals to that city. CitiX60 offers guides on Los Angles, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, New York, Berlin, Barcelona and London.

My last point is to remain optimistic. Plans change, conflicts arise, and choices must be made; but be patient. Changes allow you to see from other perspectives. As I mentioned, there is still planning that needs to be done and more lessons that need to be learned, but the process of planning has been one of the most fulfilling experiences yet on this journey to Europe.

Images via @jebrinks

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