Europe, netherlands, Uncategorized

Windmills in Wageningen

I, Jessica Mondello, am from a tiny, agricultural town of 5500. The kind of town that all you Suburbians think of when you think “Southern” Illinois: cornfields on all sides. I always felt I was too ambitious to stay in a town like that, however, I have realized that it is not ambition that drives me but satisfaction. Staying anywhere for too long makes me unsatisfied. I become comfortable. I have nothing against comfort; in fact, I quite enjoy sitting down for a Netflix binge in my sweatpants after a week of tests.

But soon, comfortable becomes…comfortable.

You settle for comfortable. You settle for staying in on the weekends with a bottle of wine with the same people watching the same show. For me, though, comfortable becomes unsatisfying. I start to get a twinge that I am wasting time, that I am missing something great. That feeling starts as loneliness or maybe even sadness. It’s a confusing feeling. Then one day, I’ll be walking down the sidewalk, listening to some tunes when it hits me. It often hits as the desire to learn how to fly an airplane– I don’t know why. I guess my subconscious associates learning to fly as living life to the fullest. This great feeling of satisfaction and confidence just rushes over me and I realize I need a change.

Anyways, that’s why I decided I need to travel the world. I need to see new places, a change of scenery, so I don’t get comfortable and get stuck in a loop of Netflix and wine. Luckily for me, I attend a university with a large option of study abroad programs. I chose the Netherlands (mostly due to the accessibility to other countries). But studying abroad was not enough, my first time out of the United States needed to be epic. So, I decided to road trip to the Netherlands.

I purchased a one-way ticket to Istanbul, Turkey (with many ridiculous comments from my peers about ISIS and Taken 2). And that was that! During two weeks of non-stop travel with night busses and cheap hostels, I was able to see:

and a couple places in between. It was a crazy ride and I learned much along the way, mostly about food (hence the 5 lbs I’ve gained since leaving the US). However, there is at least one important thing I learned on my two-week adventure across Europe: I don’t want a career, yet. I always thought I was going to “find myself” when I went abroad. That’s what is supposed to happen, right? Sure, I have learned some things about myself, but I feel I have more questions than answers at this point. Even with a new-found appreciation for the US and several more countries under my belt (and even a day trip to Asia), I have no idea where I want to live for the rest of my life. I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. BUT, I have become more comfortable with the idea of not knowing.

So, here I am! I am at last in the Netherlands for my study abroad program, and quite comfortable not knowing what I’ll be doing next. Currently, I’m planning my next trips across Europe, looking at work abroad programs and internships, and enjoying the Dutch culture. I don’t know where or what I’ll be doing in a year, but that sounds alright.

Fly you high,

Jessica Mondello