It's getting to be that timea gain, where my wanderlust sets in and I find myself dreaming of new places to explore and beginning to plan what's next.
It should come as no surprise to those of you that know me (either by reading this blog or personally know me) that I am an international studies major. At my school, this means that I have to have an "international experience", which means studying abroad for at least 6 credit hours.
I don't have any issues with the fact that I have to study abroad-- in fact, I think it's great that my program requires majors to study abroad, because I think the experience of going abroad is probably one of the most useful and necessary experiences to have as a student. Particularly in my major, it makes sense that they require it (or a similar experience).
My major worry is not how or why, but where. Having already fulfilled my dream of going to France, it seems a bit silly to try to recreate the experience or continue to lust after a country and experience that I have already had. That is not to say that it would be the same now, as a university student rather than a high schooler, but for various reasons, I probably won't be going back to France to attend classes.
So where to, if not France?
This is the dilemma I am faced with this year, as I seek out where I should go next. There are so many places in the world to see, and even though I am focusing my search on Europe (after all, France is just a short trip away from most places in Western Europe), I find myself questioning this blog most of all. If I am not "en France", as I have shaped my online identity since 2009, am I still "Aly en France"? I mean, I'm not in France now-- but I maintain this blog, my tumblr, etc., under that username/title. It works; my near-constant longing for France and nostalgia for the places I have been is a bit ridiculous, even as time passes. My heart still remains "en France", so far as I (and this blog) are concerned.
But wherever I go in the future-- should my blog still be "Aly en France"? France is not the end of my travels; it was the beginning of a lifetime of wanderlust and dreams. It is still an important part of how I perceive the world and my identity as a person. But should my blog always reflect an experience I have already had?
What do you do with a virtual space that holds so many memories and identity you have taken on when it is no longer relevant to your current life?
Do you abandon it, as I have (at least on this site) until a time when you figure it out again? Or is it not necessary for the name to reflect reality?
What if I was just "Aly en Europe" or "Aly en America" or any other combination of place? Does my current reality need to be reflected in my online presence?
These are some of the questions I am struggling with while I do research about where would be the best place for me to go next. The challenges of international travel await, yet I am preoccupied with an issue of virtual identity, rather than the challenges of reality.
I'd love to hear what you (as a reader of this blog, however infrequent) think!