Megan Rabuck

31 Jul 2013

“I want to break out of my normal everyday routine and test my boundaries of what I once held as a belief, feeling, or outlook.”

Hello, my name is Megan Rabuck! I’m 21 years old from the United States and I just completed a study abroad program in Spain and hope to travel to the UK on my next journey!  If you would like to get in contact with me, submit a message here and Erica will relay it to me. I hope you enjoy reading some of what I’ve learned while on my journey!

What stage of life are you in?

Studying at University

Why embark on your journey?

to experience a new culture, to challenge yourself, to meet new people, study abroad (university studies), to practice a language

What are some of your goals while traveling?

My biggest goal for traveling is to fully immerse myself into a new and other culture. I want to break out of my normal everyday routine and test my boundaries of what I once held as a belief, feeling, or outlook. This is also a constant struggle and challenge, but as I have learned from my previous traveling experiences, it can be done.

What were some of your fears about traveling before you left?

running out of money, missing loved ones, being alone/loneliness, fear of failure, having a hard time meeting people, exposure to possible dangers (sickness, disease, violence, etc), fear of the unknown, language barrier

How do you feel you have faced those fears during your trip?

I was absolutely terrified when I boarded my first flight, alone and unsure of what I was about to face. Through my many nervous breakdowns and panic attacks, I was able to calm myself and take in the beauty all around me. I instantly bonded with people and realized that my fears were not only mine, but everyone else’s around me. I had people I could rely on to help me through my fears and they didn’t seem so scary anymore. Whenever I felt afraid or lonely, all I had to do was walk the streets I did everyday and take a good look around. This helped me realize how lucky I was to be where I was, with the people I had met, and in a culture that I had grown to love. That alone, erased all of my fears.

Have you dreams of what you might do with your live changed as a result of traveling?

Before embarking on my travels, I had always thought I would enjoy traveling. I was wrong. I LOVE traveling and it has become an addiction of mine. I need to continue traveling because there is so much to see and learn in this world and so many people that I have not met yet that are waiting to inspire me. I have always wanted a job that required me to live abroad or to travel. Now that has become a priority of mine and something I look for in my future career.

What are 3 significant things you have learned while being on your adventure?

1. There is a difference in saying that you are “open-minded” and living “open-mindedly.” For example, I described myself as an “open-minded” person before traveling; however, I had a crippling fear of heights and would never try something like rock-climbing. While abroad, a friend convinced me to try rock-climbing, despite my fear, and I fell in love with the sport. I climbed a mountain that overlooked the city I lived in, which before would have made me extremely anxious. Now I am willing to try anything because nothing is holding me back.
2. I learned that language is not vital in all human interactions. For example, I made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela along with hundreds of other pilgrims from around the world. The night before I started the long hike, I became sick. An older French woman noticed that I was not feeling well and gave me eucalyptus oil. This woman only spoke German and French and I only speak English and Spanish. Although there was a language barrier, we were able to communicate and I was able to show my gratitude.
3. Make connections! After my travels, I now have friends all over the world. Although I may not see them all very soon, I know I can always contact them when I am in their home country and have a place to stay and the same is true for them with me.

What advice could you give others who are considering taking some time off to explore themselves and the world?

DO IT!!! It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you travel, so my advice is to feel it for yourself. It is such a gratifying experience and I feel very accomplished from it. Traveling will better you in all aspects of your life.

Were there any quotes that motivated you along the way?

Before I left for my adventure, the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips was popular and that song became my anthem during my time abroad. I really liked the line “I’m going to make this place my home” because ultimately that is what I did.

What are the top three countries you would like to travel to next?

Turkey, Argentina, India