Holidays are sometimes an escape from normal life, but sometimes what constitutes a good vacation is living life exactly like you would back home. It’s taken me some time to understand that travelling doesn’t have to be filled with adventures and crazy stories, sometimes helping your friends with their homework over a cup of coffee is the exact definition of time well spent.
There’s nothing that makes for a more philosophical setting than to be sitting on an airplane and gazing out the window. I don’t know why airplanes inflict this mental state upon me. I guess the view from up here just makes it easy to see life on earth from another perspective. As I sit here on my flight from Los Angeles, I reflect on my past two weeks in California. I can’t help but smile to myself. It’s been one of the best parts of my entire trip but in all honesty, I haven’t done anything noteworthy. The most adventurous thing I did was to summon a stranger from Craigslist to give me a ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. That’s about it.
In the past fortnight, I was either occupied by school work or lying in bed with a fever that decided to unmercifully strike three days before I left the States. It’s not what most people would consider the highlight of a holiday. The reason I found my time so enjoyable was the fact that I was with such good company. I’ve come to realise that even the most mundane of things can become enjoyable if they’re done with the right people.
It has been seven months since I saw my friends from Lund University who are now on a year-long exchange program with the University of California in Santa Barbara. Despite having not seen them for so long, it seemed like no time had passed when we finally got together again; a sign of true friendship in my eyes.
Everyday would be the same, the pool would be just as cold and the coffee just as bitter.
My friends live in a small apartment complex in a suburb of Santa Barbara. Everyday, except when they went to class, we would study by the lethally cold swimming pool of their apartment complex and drink excessive amounts of filtered coffee from the machine they bought cheaply on Amazon. Everyday would be the same, the pool would be just as cold and the coffee just as bitter, but somehow our days together were everything but boring.
Despite my friends’ looming midterms and the mountain of school work that threatened to consume me, life in Santa Barbara was pretty cruisy. We didn’t only have each other, we had the whole town as our support network. Never have I been in a place where the whole community is so centred around the college campus. The streets were lined with sororities and fraternities and practically every person walking the streets was wearing UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) attire as if it were some kind of compulsory uniform.
People often imagine travel to be about visiting the grandest sites or going where few have ventured. I’ve discovered over the past weeks, it’s not what you’re doing, it is who you’re doing it with. The feeling of being in the same boat as an entire community, sailing the rough seas of essay deadlines and exams really takes the stress out of the process. Of course it’s not all smooth sailing but at least we didn’t have to feel like we were doing it alone.