So, I did it. This past weekend we traveled to Interlaken, Switzerland – the extreme sports capital of Europe –  and I freaking did it. After a picture perfect venture, with some fast but surprisingly genuine friends, I took the ultimate plunge, and skydived over this gem of a city. And let me tell you, it was worth every single franc. It was not what I had initially hoped, no; it was truly far beyond I could ever have imagined. Indescribable, really. Which is great because, although I do not regret any part of it, I sure will be making QUITE a few coffees at Dunkin Donuts this summer to recuperate my bank account. Maybe, for the purposes of writing this post, it being “indescribable” is not the best thing. But, for the purposes of my life and that experience that will stay with me (forever, I hope), “indescribable” is perfect.

Just minutes ago, I boarded a train to be whisked away to Milan, my first solo excursion, since we arrived in the heart of Firenze, just three short weeks ago. This will be the first lone travel of many, might I add. And strangely enough, unlike my peers, I feel not one bit doubtful of, or remotely phased by the trek (early train there, followed by an overnight one to Venice, with yet another overnight haul back to Florence to finish) that lies ahead. Even more strangely, as my legs curled around the underside of that plane over the drop zone, I recall a similar sensation. I am assuming this is not the typical response from most when they are about to fling themselves — and potentially even their lives altogether — from the clouds. There is a sensation in pit in your stomach. Not a nervous one but an eager, let’s-freaking-do-this one.

skydiving-708695_960_720In the moments that I free fell from 14,000+ feet up, I knew that everything I had become was every bit capable. Capable of pushing — sometimes BEING pushed — to the limits, and in the end surviving. Thriving, even. I mean, if I can keep a family of four afloat after the absolute worst case scenario, realistically is there anything in this world I cannot do? All in all, it is about taking control by realizing that you are not necessarily always in control… I think putting your life in the hands of a stranger and a parachute is a pretty good start.

Now, I would like to clarify what exactly I meant by the first stop of this multi-destination trip being the first of many solo travels. It is not that I simply do not like to do things with other people; in fact, I could stand to be a little more antisocial sometimes, especially in the library. Please don’t get me wrong, the most fun I had in London and throughout my life, were when I was surrounded by others. But not every single minute of every single day can, solely, be about having fun. Wow! That is SO out of character for me to say so let me explain.

Being in the presence of those closest to me, more often than not, has given me years of laughter and happiness. Short term happiness. If there is anything you take from this blog, please, please,  let it be that everything you feel, everything you are, and everything you will become, all starts with you. That is precisely why the experiences I have spent alone, primarily while traveling,  are my favorite. Because these are the moments where true change -meaningful, raw soul-awakening, life-changing change, really occurs.

Though this weekend excursion is super spontaneous and painfully last minute, that is not the only reason I have chosen to travel in the manner I am. I mean, back-to-back, overnight trains, in the cramped quarters of economy class,  is not, necessarily, appealing to the average person. But for some reason,  even if more typical options were cheaper/easier, part of me knows I would find myself right here in seat 14C anyways. Because “roughing” this journey, however small on the map, will benefit me far more in the long run than a first class flight ever will. Adventure in any measure is more than worth a few extra hours in coach, because why not? That is what it means to be an authentic traveler, to have a true travelers heart.

10/10 recommend

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories  – their voices.
About the Author:
Erica B.
Class of 2019
Major: Psychology
Minor: Criminal Justice
Blog Theme:
Around the World and into Myself


Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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