“Be brave, take risks, nothing can substitute experience.”——Internet quote.
Roughly 3.5 years ago, I made the decision to study abroad. And I would never trade those years with anything else.
From the moment when my parent dropped me off at airport, I knew that I have to be responsible for everything and every choices I make. Even though I can still call my parent using the modern day technology, but it’s not the same as when they are with me.
Besides that, I had to experience a life with nothing else but two luggage.
It was challenging in the beginning, I always felt that I need more things than what I brought with me. But after the first few weeks, I realized that I had enough, that was the first time when I learned the lesson of being content (1 Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that).
Realizing the limited space I have to store belongs, I learned to save money on material goods for experiences.
3.5 years, 17 states (WV, PA, OH, MA, IN, IL, CO, FL, MI, WI, TN, CA, NY, LA, MD, MN), 1 district (DC), 1 US territory (Puerto Rico). From Niagara Falls to Rocky Mountains, to Walt Disney World, I cannot be more thankful for the memories and friendships along the way.
Many times I questioned myself why spent money on flights that did not leave anything I can bring home to share with my family. But looking back, I had more stories to tell than I would otherwise.
As I gaze the Rocky Mountains while jutting down these words, I’m grateful for my friends and host family, without whom the journey wouldn’t be possible.
Living a “carry-on” life is not easy but I’m loving it, here is why:
1. It teaches me to be content.
Just as Bible says “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:7-10)
It’s easy to follow the crowd and try to get everything up to date, and that can wear out people. Knowing that I have to fit everything into two luggage, I learned to be content with what I already have, instead of buying things that I cannot bring with.
2. It teaches me to surrender
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2)
3. It makes travel so much lighter!
Maybe because I didn’t get to travel as much while at home, I have the desire to take in as much as I can while time allows. Studying abroad is not just about getting good grades, but also to embrace culture and making memories. Packing takes time and effort, it also requires knowledge to pack light, and there is still a lot for me to learn.
4. After all, making memories
It makes me sad when realizing this is after all not my home, and I have to leave for good someday. I’m sad that I wont be able to reconnect with friends as much as I would wish, but it’s the memories that last and no one else can take that away.