Starting this blog, I think it’s important to note my lack of experience with travel. I’ve never been to Europe, never flown internationally, and I’ve only flown domestically once.
Basically, I’m about as new to the whole abroad experience as I could possibly be, so I’m going to break down my levels of preparation here in the first post.
For the last week I’ve been ‘pre-packing’. I call it pre-packing so that I don’t get too attached to anything that gets placed in my bag. I’m doing my very best to travel light, though I know I will undoubtably bring more than I need.
My absolute necessities: comfy, resilient sneakers, warm raincoat, and all-weather boots.
For the sneakers, I got lucky. My old sneakers were worn out and I got new sneakers that I hope hold out against the cobblestones. I have a warm raincoat, but I’m packing a warmer jacket just in case. As for the boots, I recommend, as a new traveler, all-weather boots because I plan on traveling around Europe while abroad and don’t want to get stuck without proper footwear.
I have been asking absolutely everybody for advice about traveling. I’ve e-mailed professors, talked to family members, and even pumped the people in front of me at the grocery store for information.
I may be a novice traveler, but I’m doing my research. Just about everybody has told me the same first step: get to know your city.
I know it’s going to be incredibly tempting to take a new European adventure every weekend, and hop around the continent. But I want to get to know Siena first. I’ve already done some Google Earth-ing, checking out the streets around the Piazza and the IES Center in the hope that I will feel somewhat acquainted with the city.
I also know this is a vain hope and that the twisty streets will inevitably send me on some unplanned excursions, but just looking at the streets sets me at a whole new level of excited. Seeing the image of the IES Center in the context of the city makes everything so much more real.
Then my nerves kick in. While I’m not afraid of flying, I’m new to traveling, so I’m nervous about getting from Pennsylvania to Siena. Although not prone to extreme homesickness, I am very connected to my family and, when I’m at college, I’m used to calling them a couple times a week. So the time difference makes me a little nervous.
However, my nerves are totally overshadowed by my reality. I am going to be living in Siena. I will get there. I will learn its streets and its language. I will learn how to keep in touch with my family.
But most importantly, I will embark on the most incredible journey of my life. I will adapt, I will change, and I will grow. I will never be the same.
And I can’t wait to start.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! I'm Taylor and I major in English and minor in History at the University of Richmond. I am a novice traveler at best, and have never been anywhere a car couldn't take me, so I am incredibly excited to be studying in Siena, Italy for the next academic year. In addition to my major and minor, I also am incredibly passionate about music, voice and piano being my preferred instruments, and can't wait to see what musical outlets I find in Siena. I can't believe I'm spending an entire year in a city I know I'm going to fall absolutely in love with and I can't wait to share my perspective of Siena with you!</span></p>