Postcard from Abroad: The Joys of Adventuring Alone and Understanding Once in a Lifetime Opportunities

By Laken Franchetti

LANCASTER, ENGLAND—Within the first week of arriving in the United Kingdom, I had experienced one prime minister leaving, the introduction of a new prime minister, Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, and the beginning of King Charles III’s reign. I would call that an eventful week.

Laken on Snowdon Mountain in Llanberis, Wales (Photo provided).

Laken on Snowdon Mountain in Llanberis, Wales (Photo provided).

I have never been outside of the United States, and now I was being thrown into a new country at a time when its people and government were adjusting to large amounts of change. In this hectic time, I did my best to remain conscious of what I have come here to do.

I did my best to begin planning activities with friends while also allotting time to branch out and adventure alone. A few days ago, for example, I went out with friends in the morning to visit “touristy” London sites: Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. When we came back to the flat, I knew that the remaining time of the day could not be wasted. After some quick research and a shop recommendation, I had created a Harry Potter themed trip that would take me to locations inspired by the series.

While the trip only lasted a few hours and did not include anything extravagant, it filled up the small portion of the day that I had left, and simple adventures like that themed afternoon allow me to further appreciate the city I am in and the potential adventures it holds. When I returned to the flat that afternoon, I felt accomplished and proud of myself for venturing into the city.

Those who know me understand that I am an introverted person, and this left me with a fear that I would miss out on opportunities while studying abroad due to anxiety and stress. However, in the short time that I have been in the UK, I have uncovered a new motto for myself: sometimes you have to seek out opportunity.

This could mean adventuring alone throughout a new city, but that comes with the chance to discover local cafes, visit interesting shops, and check items off a bucket list. I appreciate the opportunity to spend time with others while in London, yet I have grown to admire spending time by myself. I may never be in the UK at a time this historic again, so the time that I do have here is invaluable.

These opportunities to branch out alone have allowed me to do extraordinary things and meet new people. The other night I attended a West End production of Hamilton, and I started a conversation with the girl sitting next to me. I learned that she was Norwegian and on her first trip outside of Norway since COVID began. Over the course of one evening, I had met someone new, seen a spectacular show, and once again felt proud of myself for adventuring outside of the flat.

Studying abroad has been filled with once in a lifetime opportunities, and I still have the remainder of the semester to appreciate what the UK offers and the joy that comes with seeking out opportunities.

This article originally appeared on page 10 of the September 2022 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

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Author: Laken Franchetti

Laken Franchetti ’24 serves as the Editor-in-Chief for The Gettysburgian. She has previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and as a staff writer for the news and arts and entertainment sections. Laken is an English with a writing concentration and history double major. On-campus, she is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus, the Nonfiction Genre Head for The Mercury and a user services assistant at Musselman Library. Laken is also a Lincoln scholar and spent the Fall ’22 semester abroad in London and Lancaster, England. In her free time, Laken is an avid film fan and enjoys reading.

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