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MIKYLA MARIE MANU

My travels, thoughts, memories, and love all in one place. Life documented as a twenty-something.

Stay Gold


It is official.  I have been home for a week. Seven solid days and I still cannot grasp it all. Those six weeks seem surreal, like an alternate reality.

I've been dreading writing this post. It is the stamp of finalization. Proof that it all happened but that it is now officially over. I don't like that. So here we go, an attempted recap to everything my study abroad taught me.

Up till I left I had been rushing to get things done. To hurry up and graduate and move to New York. But I've realized why am I in such a rush? Why am I in a rush to move to the next step and get to the next stage, if anything the next stage isn't nearly as exciting as the now. The next stage is a job and a set schedule. Talk about mundane. But for some reason I was reaching for that point because it would finally show everyone that I had "made it". But I am making it now and I'm doing it in a way that I never thought I would - with such flair.

I've realized that what is happening at this moment is what I need to fully embrace. The now is what will shape tomorrow and the rest of my life. The now is exciting, it is fresh and it is new. So while I'm in the now I commit to seeing the world, to learning about others cultures, to being shaped and changed by the world as I strive to change the world for the better.

Here in the now I commit to actually living my life.

My study abroad taught me so many things I had no idea I could learn, would learn or needed to learn.  It gave me confidence in a way that I did not anticipate. I've always considered myself a confident person but this study abroad showed me my flaws. It forced me to be honest with myself. You cannot hide who you are to 30 plus students you're with every living second of every day for six weeks straight. All walls come down. And the raw vulnerability you are forced to face pushes you to accept who you are and where you are. I have confidence in the person that I am, flaws and all. This true honesty gave me confidence in myself and in going in my own path. 

I learned more about making my own decisions. To listening to my heart and deciding what I wanted to do regardless of biased opinions from outside influences.

I learned the importance of being judgement free of others. Every single person had their crazy first impressions of everyone and boy were they all wrong.

I learned about how to be a friend. In my life I have been blessed immensely with strong friends. Quantity of friends has not always been there but the quality of friends I have surpasses all. Like many I have struggled making friends during points of my life but somehow 30 complete strangers became some of the closest friends I have ever made. 

Prior to my study abroad I felt I was on the fence of being able to achieve the next level of personal potential. I was almost there but my emotions and insecurities held me back.This study abroad has pushed me past my limitations to a greater version of me. I know I have changed for the better. I can see it in myself. I can see the true happiness. I can feel the confirmation that the path I am going with my life is the right one. I'm headed in the right direction and I haven't always felt this way. I've been striving for it but I hadn't been able to grasp it till now. I'd been on the brink but now I feel I am there. 

I recognize there is so much more for me to learn. The more I travel the more I realize how much more there is for me to know, partake of and experience. Thailand, Cambodia, Uganda, Greece and Amsterdam are a few of the many locations that are on my list. I know each destination has something to show me, has something to offer me. I do not desire to be a tourist; I want to be a traveler and student of other cultures. I want to be bare to every country allowing each to show me their history, their culture and the people as they are today. I do not want to see the world, I want to experience it. I want to be apart of it. The world is at my feet and I can't wait to see where I will let me take me.

So as one last final tribute to #recmanclan14,

     Nature's first green is gold,
     Her hardest hue to hold.
     Her early leaf's a flower;
     But only so an hour.
     Then leaf subsides to elaf.
     So Eden sank to grief,
     So dawn goes down to day.
     Nothing gold can stay.
                         -Robert Frost

So there it is. I did it. Stay gold.

xx,
m.
  • Best gelato: Florence, Italy
  • Best meal: Die Wiessen in Austria 
  • Worst meal: Disneyland Paris 
  • Song of the trip: Not A Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake
  • Key phrases: You Do You-I Do I, let me be me mom, So.... That's a thing, so here's the thing, FOMO, slash, I'm all about that life, that's all shades of no.
  • Favorite run: Freiberg LDS Temple 
  • Book of the trip: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Divergent by Veronica Roth 
  • Best dessert: Lemon meringue with vanilla ice cream at Edward Moon in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
  • Most spontaneous moment: Walter Mitty waterfall in Iceland 
  • Drink of the trip: Coke 
  • Candy bar of the trip: Galaxy cookie crumble and Buenos
  • Candy of the trip: Fruity Mentos
  • Best crepe: Paris, France by the Eiffel Tower
  • Salty trip of the trip: Pringles
  • Snacks of the trip: Bread w/ Nutella and Digestives
  • Worst sleeping arrangements: Venice, Italy and Bern, Switzerland
  • Best sleeping arrangements: Edelweiss, Germany and Skaftafell, Iceland
  • Mixed sleeping arrangements: Tropical Islands... We hated it and loved it all at the same time.
  • Sketchiest city: Munich, Germany
  • Safest city: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England.... Do they even have a police enforcement?
  • Least favorite city: Prague, Czech Republic...... Weather sucked
  • Best pizza: Venice, Italy
  • Best pastry: Paris bakery 
  • Best fruit: Venice, Italy
  • Best Sandwhich: Borough Market in London- Rum steak sandwhich 
  • Most awkward moment: William our bus driver hitting the sign at the nunnery 
  • Pure happiness moment: Seeing Michelangelo's David
  • Most accomplishing moment: Hiking the Swiss Alps in Gimmelwald, Switzerland
  • Most embracing & living in the moment: The bonfire in Iceland 
  • Strongest wifi: Freiberg, Germany
  • Weakest wifi: Iceland 

Let's Be Real

The Sea Arches, Iceland