Three sleepless nights, two over-packed suitcases, and one pre-study abroad beach trip with the family down and tomorrow I head off to Europe. I am studying abroad in Denmark at Denmark Technical University, and am leaving the country for the first time. I am incredibly excited for my trip (read: can’t sleep) so obviously 1:00 am the night before a very long day is the best time to blog.

While at the beach, I had some time to consider what it is that I am so excited for, and what my expectations for the trip might be. Already, this trip has further ingrained in my mind one solid fact: I hate packing. It’s just awful. I mean, how can I plan ahead for experiences and places that I have never before experienced or been to? I decided variety is the answer. So, weighing and reweighing my suitcase to avoid weight limit fees and prying myself from something each time that I had deemed necessary has been no easy process. I have to keep reminding myself that I am traveling to another civilized country where I can purchase anything I need, and not roughing it in the Amazon.

I think though, that I am most excited to learn. The thing I like most about people and places unlike myself and my normal surroundings, is the potential to learn something new. I’m hoping that by immersing myself in a new culture, I am inspired to think in a manner differently than I ever have before. Maybe I’ll acquire a new perspective, or new ways of articulating opinions, or even an amazing new recipe. I think that if you are not constantly learning and pushing yourself to become a better person, then you are complacent. I don’t believe complacency is ever a good thing.

One question that comes to mind though, is what exactly defines a new place? Is it not having been there before? Or is it new people or a new culture? I have been to places for the first time that felt like home, and I have returned to familiar places while really seeing them for the first time. I think during this trip I will find truly new places, and also return home to an equally new city.

A picture from our beach trip