Tough Choices: Saying ‘Until Tomorrow’ to International Travel

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one travel, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted
wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

                          -Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”

Having the ability to travel should never be taken for granted, but yet, I feel like sometimes it is. Take me for example. Whenever I daydream about traveling, I picture myself in a foreign country where I can’t speak the language, getting somewhat lost in the city center. I loved my experience traveling to Spain and Ireland, so I always want to relive those moments over and over again. Over the winter break, I dedicated my time to apply for summer internships across the US and various countries. All of the internship locations sounded appealing, but the international positions always connected to exotic imagery in my head. I wanted the internship location and position to bring me adventure, so when I got two offers from two different areas of the world, both jammed pack with adventure, I was stuck. Upstate New York and Bulgaria were fighting head to head in my mind in a travel sense, but I needed to be an adult and make a thoughtful decision. I knew Bulgaria would be an intense adventure that I could only imagine, but costly. I also knew that my excitement for the work I would be doing in New York state and a half-country road trip to get there brought the adventure I needed as well. Through my moment of indecisiveness and a little help from my best friends, I needed to make a decision.

Once I had made my decision, I thought declining Bulgaria would be easy. Just another box to check off my to-do list, but when I finished typing my email, I kept re-reading and double checking my words. I wanted this declining email to be perfect and wanted to somehow express how sorry I was that I couldn’t partake in an adventure to a country I’ve never visited. When I finally hit send, I felt a pinch in my stomach. It was almost like my inner wanderlust was inside of me, kicking and screaming in anger that I denied it of its thirst. I literally could feel myself trying to reassure it. Letting it know that my time in New York would include travel and new adventures.

I know I don’t have to be overseas to feed my cravings to travel. Taking a road trip to get to know my country sounds almost more nerve-racking than any new country I have ever visited. But that same nerve-racking energy that is bouncing in my mind is also the same energy that makes me more excited and happy with my decision.

Decisions don’t always come with the outcome you desired. Knowing this, and the path I chose, I can only wait for another decision to be made, another path to walk on…

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