Lost Girl of the Week: Sarah Rowland

Lost Girl of the Week — By on January 25, 2012 at 6:30 am

This week’s lost girl, Sarah Rowland, took an unfortunate situation as an opportunity to see the world. A graduate from the University of Alabama, She is always eager to plan her next adventure. Read more about Sarah and her travels on her blog, wild at heart.

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“The test of an adventure is that when you’re in the middle of it, you say to yourself, ‘Oh, now I’ve gotten myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.’ And the sign that something’s wrong with you, is when you sit quietly at home and wish for adventure.” -Thorton Wilder

All of my life, I’ve had a plan. I graduated high school knowing exactly where I wanted to attend college and how I was going to get myself there. Throughout college, I planned to graduate within four years and immediately begin my advanced nursing degree. In May of 2010, I graduated from the University of Alabama with an English and French degree in my hand and a life plan. I was headed to Boston to begin my studies in August, when my plans took a rapid change. I received a call from the director saying that one of my credits was not the correct course number to complete my requirements and that I was being given deferred admittance. My memories of that day are still quite sad. I can still see my parents and I unpacking my belongings, returning my uniforms, and trying to figure out what was in store for me next…

However true, looking back on that time, I now realize why I did not move to Boston that day. Out of that missed opportunity came the opportunity to travel, allowing me to grow and learn from experiences. The day after I received the news, I was given an internship offer in London, England. Soon after, I packed my bags and left for the UK, not knowing who I would meet, what exactly I would be doing, or what was in store for me. In all honestly, my semester in London was far greater than any of my expectations. I met some of the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life, I traveled to places that looked like pictures in a book, and I learned more about myself than I could have ever known by simply staying at home. Waking up in a foreign and beautiful country everyday is such an incredible thing. It takes courage and independence, but it’s an experience that allows for so much personal growth. I am a strong believer in the fact that traveling is the best form of education, if you will allow yourself to learn from the people you meet along the way.

To me, London is  a place like none other. At times, the city allows you to feel very close to home, while at other times you feel so far away.  Leaving the comforts of home for the unknown is intimidating, but if you allow yourself to take that risk, you will be forever changed, because traveling alone is an experience like no other. You have to learn to take the bus by yourself, catch your flight by yourself, choose the right metro line by yourself, wheel your luggage by yourself… it can be quite challenging. There’s no one there to assure you that you’re going the right way, or that you’ve chosen the right converter and won’t blow up your own computer. There’s no one to help you flag down a taxi, or unlock the five padlocks that give you access to your apartment. It’s lonely in ways, as well, because there is no one to share in the nervousness, or excitement. It can bring about a string of emotions from happiness to sadness to worry to simply feeling alone. However true, I think

I feel so lucky to have had the time and opportunity to travel throughout Europe, the UK, and Africa over the past eight months. However, like most “lost girls,” my longing for travel is always there and  never repressed. I am constantly saving for and planning my next great adventure, because there are so many places that I hope to see. When I look at a map, my mind drifts to the adventures there, simply waiting to happen. While in London, I read Jack Karouac’s’ “Vagabonding,” which is an incredible book for lovers of long-term travel. The great mind of Karouac doesn’t even ask the question of “should I travel,” but instead asks us the question of “how will I travel.” His mindset is absolutely inspiring for fellow vagabonds, and because of this, I’ve created my own travel jar in my room where I save spare money for upcoming travels. I’m always looking forward to the next adventure, the next places I will visit, and all of the people I will encounter along the way. At the top of my list currently is Thailand, Australia, Brazil and Bali. I encourage you to make one of your own, putting your travel dreams in writing, because this is the first step to making it happen. I am always thinking about traveling, and thinking about the incredible places that I hope to see. We have to go out and fully embrace the adventure, if for no other reason than to simply get “lost.” Only then will you truly realize that you are strong enough to find your own way out.that it’s one of the best things that you can do for yourself. You discover things about yourself that you possibly couldn’t find otherwise. You learn your limits and become confident in yourself, and when it’s all over, you can look back and think, “Wow! I actually did that, all alone.”  It gives you time to think–time alone with your thoughts, to discover who you truly are–away from the monotony of every day life.

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