Posted On September 6, 2014 By In Lifestyle, Miscellaneous

Studying Abroad: Why You Should Put Your Camera Down


I remember standing on the ledge of the terrace to this very old monastery that had literally been carved out of the mountain the town was built upon and looking over to see the most beautiful Italian landscape I had ever seen (because I had never seen any up until this point) and I thought, “…wow.”

And then all of a sudden, like a 21-gun salute, everyone immediately whipped out their cameras in an attempt to capture that “wow” feeling.

And I get it.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t one of them.

Studying abroad was one of the most magical experiences of my life and there were times where I felt if I didn’t capture each and every moment then it would become that proverbial tree in the forest.

Does a memory even exist if there is no Instagram #hashtag to prove it?

Because that’s the thing, in pursuit of memories, we are missing out on moments.

No matter how many pictures I could’ve taken of the Italian countryside, it will never look the way it did when I was experiencing and seeing it with my very own eyes.

It’s kind of hard to see something with a camera or an iPhone blocking the way.

I am not saying don’t take pictures ever. (Because let’s face it, you’re going to see some pretty beautiful things and meet some pretty incredible people while you study abroad.)

Just don’t forget to be in that moment right then and there.

Bask in that feeling of “wow.”

Because this is it. This is your trip. This is your life happening right now. Seize it. Enjoy it. Breathe it in.

There is not a single filter that can give you the feeling you have the first time you realize how far away from home you are and how long you will be gone and that’s scary, but it goes by so fast.

So be in it. Be present.

Enjoy that chilly Saturday morning with a warm, creamy cappuccino and flaky, sugar-crusted pastry without the overwhelming desire to angle it just right so that everyone can see the label for your “latergram.”

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Kelli Johnson is an aspiring writer and the current (self-proclaimed) most kickass substitute teacher of all time. Her obsessions include coffeehouse chatter, Radiohead on rainy days (aka Rainiohead), and coming up with alternative tag lines for the Real Housewives. When she's not molding young minds or crying over her student loans, she can be found watching Golden Girls reruns or frolicking with her sweet tortoise named Spartacus.