How to Love Yourself Through Travel

Mikee in Scotland. Mikee Mutuc

Written by  December 29, 2016

Building independence through study abroad. 

Prior to moving, my idea of studying abroad was very one-sided. I was there to learn, explore a new environment and meet new people. That is all. During my college’s orientation, I was warned about budgeting my finances, the fluctuating emotions of homesickness and keeping busy. Unaware that the experiences here would influence the decisions I would make, my obliviousness has taken my personal life by surprise, leaving me both confused and unsure.

Before I went overseas, most of the questions I got from my friends and family were along the lines of, “Are you going to fall in love?” This was also in the midst of a complicated time. Without divulging too much, I would say that I was in between relationships. I had someone back home, but the uncertainty of my future post-Scotland held me back from pursuing it completely. He didn’t know what I would want in three months’ time and neither did I. Moving forward to my last week here in Aberdeen, I have realized that I did fall in love—with myself.

I was slowly building morale between me and the person I wanted to become.

The challenges that I face here consistently test my mental and spiritual strength. In Toronto, my comfortability in a place I have called home for years made me dependent on things other than myself, such as people and material wealth. I was unable to make decisions on my own, I was lazy, I waited for things to happen and I never took action into my own hands. Being away from home has forced me into independence. It lit a fire so hot that I needed to move or I would burn myself to death.

With no immediate family or friends to call during a moment of weakness, I had to fend for myself. At home, something as simple as buying groceries on a rainy day would have turned me off from the task completely, but with no one to do these things for me, I had to do it or I would starve. From eight flights of stairs (as I lived at the top floor of my building), I took out the trash out whenever I had the chance, so as to lighten the burden off of my flatmates. I had to schedule times for when I would be free to do my laundry, go to the gym, cook dinner, study at the library and hang out with friends.

Little did I know that all these minuscule tasks would add up every day and bring about the conclusion that I did these things for me—no one else. Out of survival and out of personal agency, I was slowly building morale between me and the person I wanted to become.

The foundation I have in my relationship with myself is developing so much that I am growing a unique confidence in being alone. While travelling alone started this journey early last year, my experience studying abroad in Scotland has solidified my need to continue exploring who I am by myself without external influences to guide me.

I feel so far removed from who I was before I came, but in the best way possible. It is hard to imagine that my feelings about moving away were once completely closed. I was scared and anxious at the thought of loneliness. Little did I know that in loving the process of growth, loneliness would impossible to come acrossas I will always have the best version of myself to look forward to.

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Mikee Mutuc

Mikee Mutuc is a journalism student from Toronto, Canada currently continuing her studies for the fall semester of 2016 at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

Website: instagram.com/mkaev

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