This week, I'll be taking off from Minneapolis and, three flights, a 13-hour layover and about 6,000 miles of travel later, arriving in Buenos Aires to study for two semesters. The last few months have been a hectic blur trying to get all of the documents I need in order, working three jobs to save up money, continuously putting off cleaning my room, and fitting in time to hang out with everybody I can. I'm notorious among people who know me well for procrastinating and being a terrible planner, and while I've succeeded in crossing off my checklist for this trip, it's just setting in that I'll be gone for an entire year. Pre-departure emotions are really complex, and (at least in my case) don't really show up until I realize that I'm at the point of no return. This time around, these feelings started to surface while I was packing my bags the night before leaving (yes, I packed my bags the night before, and no, I don't recommend doing this). Somewhere between my unsuccessful attempts to shove a fourth pair of shoes into my bag and the ensuing shame of realizing I'm just another mindless consumer, I realized that I might not be able to fit everything I own into this one suitcase. Despite my capitalist guilt, this ritual is one of my favorite parts of preparing for travel; laying out all my belongings, sifting through them and choosing the stuff I really need. It's important to make sure you have all your things ready before you take off. Things are cool. Things are useful. Humans need things. Still, packing up everything I could possibly need for a year abroad had me thinking about the "things" I would have no choice but to leave behind. This next year I'll be away from everything I've come to love about home; friends, family, long days and late nights spent with people I love in places I love. Since none of these things can fit inside my bag without going over the 23 kg limit, I'll have to settle with what I can fit in my head. Memories are, to me, the most important thing to bring with you abroad, and helps fill the space left by the things you can't bring with you. That being said, I thought I'd share some of my memories of things I'll miss while I'm away, in the form of photos stored inside a very-packable SD card.
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<p>I'm a student at the University of Minnesota studying Spanish and Communications. I love traveling, seeing new things, speaking to different people, and getting outside of my comfort zone. I love music, cooking, hiking, taking pictures, and exploring.</p>