Thursday, July 11, 2013

Guest Post: Travel Safety Tips

Staying Safe

    Many college students enjoy traveling around the country and the world. They enjoy seeing the popular landmarks that they study about, and they enjoy spending time with friends and family. While traveling can be fun and educational, it can also have bumps in the road. Unforeseen circumstances might thwart travel plans, and the entire trip can go from a dream to a nightmare in a short amount of time. There are some things to remember about planning a trip to increase the safety while abroad.

    Students who do not want to carry a large amount of money on a trip (smart choice) can use a credit card. The money is secure because it is not in an open space- like a wallet or a pocket; but instead it’s electronic and can be moved or cancelled at any time. It is confined to a card so that only the holder of the card can use the money. However, if your wallet is stolen, you will lose the card. There is the potential that someone else can use the card unless you make it secure. Don’t put a name on the card. This makes it harder for someone to use it because there is no personal information attached to it. Prepaid credit cards are the way to go for students who wish to travel; the student puts money on the card instead of having a credit limit from the company and it helps them stay out of debt while still being able to travel with a small financial cushion.

    Getting lost can be easy to do in a big city. The first thing to do is remain calm. Find someone in the area who speaks the same language you speak; if you speak English, this won’t take very long. Explain where you are from and where you are trying to go, and make a map of the directions that the person gives. Instead of street names, use landmarks you will remember because then you remove the language barrier from the equation. Students should pay attention to bus and train schedule so that they are not stranded in the city after the last departure. Print directions to every attraction. Plan ahead, stay organized and know your major landmarks of the area like churches, museums and bus stations.

    There are some things that are never fun while traveling to another country, and this includes getting sick. It could be the food, the flight to the area or a host of other things that can make someone sick while traveling. Find a pharmacy as soon as possible and only take medicines from sealed containers. Drink plenty of fluids to replenish fluids that have been lost (make sure the water is safe to drink). Bottled water is a good idea because the water in some countries is not sanitary to drink. Eat as healthy as possible by finding something in a store or restaurant that is familiar.

KC Owens has written and submitted this article. KC is a college student who loves traveling, college life, fitness and a good survival kit. He enjoys studying different cultures, meeting new people and leaving his footprint somewhere most people only read about.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Three Years Ago...

Pictures from my last day with my French friends when my mom and brother visited.

Hello, all!

Three years ago I landed on American soil after seven months of living in France. 

Three years have passed since my friends came to pick me up at the airport and I didn't quite believe it was real. Since we screamed and cried and hugged in an airport lobby because it had been so long and so much had changed.

Seven months changes a lot. 

Three years changes more.

Three years ago, I had already accomplished the dream that I had been working towards for 10 years of my life. I didn't have a new dream; I was happy to be home but my language and my heart was still captured in French. (It still is, but to a lesser extent.)

Three years have passed since I was last in Europe. Slightly more than that since I said goodbye to "my Frenchies" and embarked on a short vacation to Italy with my mother and brother. More than three years since I wandered through Southern France with near-strangers that are kind of family and now-distant friends. Since filming silly videos with my friends and dancing through La Villa Aurélienne. Since hanging out in MacDo and Quick and getting sunburnt on the beach of La mer Méditerranée

Picture from a picnic my class threw me before I left France.

I find myself looking through those pictures and blog posts and thinking of all those experiences and I fall in love with those experiences all over again. Or I feel the sting of loneliness as I read about those rough days when I felt like I was falling apart. I re-watch the video I made to celebrate five months in France again and tear up as I remember those friends and I think about all the stories and pictures that I never shared here. (There are so many)

I think about who I was then. How I felt out of touch with the United States and my friends on either side of the ocean at different points; those moments of clarity on long train rides alone and when goofing off with people whose names I probably never pronounced exactly right. 

And then there's now. 

I'm rediscovering myself and my strength and challenging myself all over again. I've found a new dream to pursue at long last and I am pursuing it the best I know how.

Life is strange and time passes too quickly. I'm not sure where I will be seven months from now, much less three years from now. I wonder if I will still maintain the friendships I have had for years, or if I will re-establish the closeness I once had with my seven month friends. 

That being said, it's time to share again. 

A bientot!