Travel and Writing and Journeys and Pausing

Alison Wallach, an NYU junior in Prague, said something quite important about the nature of travel and writing in her most recent blog post:

It’s hard to stop and blog when you want to keep going, keep exploring. Yet, I feel that I’ll lose the point of traveling if I just keeping moving, without pausing to reflect on all that surrounds me and all that I have yet to discover.

It is indeed a difficult balance to keep — one wants to both have experiences and to record those very experiences. Yet often it seems as if we must choose one or the other. 

In the 1930s, when Ernest Hemingway was at the peak of his writing career in Paris, many of his fans sailed across the Atlantic in search of the bars and restaurants and cafés he had so often written about in his novels. However, when they arrived and went in search of the famous writer, he was nowhere to be found. He was neither chain-smoking on the terrasse of the Café Sélect nor was he drinking at one of the taverns along the River Seine. Instead, he spent the majority of his day holed up in his apartment, pounding away on a typewriter, not speaking to a soul. 

As F. Scott Fitzgerald, in a letter to his daughter, said of writing, “It is an awfully lonesome business.”

Both Hemingway and Fitzgerald knew that one cannot have it all: as Alison correctly said, one cannot “keep going, keep exploring” while also pausing to reflect. What then, is one to do? Surely we want to experience the world and all the beautiful things it has to offer, but so too we must ask, What is the point of having an adventure if it cannot be shared with others?

I suppose it is not an entirely satisfactory answer, but we must try to find a balance. We must seek out new and fascinating and unique experiences while trying to bring others along through our retellings. We must allow ourselves adventures while taking an hour, a half hour, even five minutes each late-evening or early-morning to record our thoughts and feelings. What does the world look like to us, what does it feel like, what have we tasted, smelled, and loved? Just by taking these brief moments to write, we are able to reflect on our day, to better appreciate our life.

Even though at time they felt like failures — both in their writing and their relationships — Fitzgerald and Hemingway are legends. They recorded a period of time, a way of life, a series of stories that meant everything to them. Perhaps they did not get the balance just right.

Perhaps they should have explored more and written less. But then they would not be the literary greats that they are. I suppose all of that means we can only try to balance our exploring with our reflecting, and if we end up literary legends then great, but if not, then we will still have the memories of adventuring and exploring, memories that will stay with us forever — even if we never get around to writing them down. 

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Mentioned in this piece is awallgoesawol.

Global Blogger Weekly Challenge: 7

Here it is, guys! This week’s Challenge:

Check out “utilitarian districts” that specialize in one particular item wherever you are — like the Flower District in New York, or Newburgh Street in London.

This will connect you to areas that can take you back in history and show how your city has evolved: just think of the Meatpacking District in New York.


Don’t forget to share photos and stories!

Global Blogger Weekly Challenge: 6

Hey everyone, 

Think you know your study away site by now? 

Let’s see if you can get the inside scoop with this week’s Challenge:

Meet someone in a local shop and ask for suggestions on cool places to check out in the area. You could also try having a conversation with a taxi driver or your next flight attendant- they’re generally full of information!

We wanna hear about any and all off-the-grid places you learn about.

Don’t forget to tag #editorschallenge,

Happy exploring!

Spring Has Sprung

Here in New York, trees are once again sprouting leaves. Friends are planning picnics. Romantic souls are sauntering through Central Park looking for a fine spot to read. Spring, it seems, has sprung.

But what is everyone else doing around the world?

We know that those in Washington D.C. are praising the newfound cherry blossoms and those in Paris are excited to take their morning coffee outside on the terrasse. But what about in the other corners of the globe, where NYU students are balancing their studies with taking advantage of the fact that they’re abroad? The chance to experience springtime in a faraway place is no small matter, and NYUers the globe over seem to know it.

In Prague, Alison Wallach noted the resurrecting qualities of spring, which seem to touch every facet of life, saying, “The buildings are bright with color, people walk slower and speak in softer tones, and with the coming of spring, things seem to be waking up, coming to life.”

The spring is also time for travel, and although spring breaks are at different times and for different lengths at nearly every study away site, there is always some time to get away.

At NYU London, students have the good fortune of a two-week holiday, which Loriah Pope recently wrote she intends to take full advantage of.

“My Spring Break lasts from April 10th to April 28th,” she said. “During that time I will be traveling to Amsterdam with one of my friends, and then accomplishing one of the items on my bucket list by traveling to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples for two weeks on my own.”

Cristina Estanislao is staying busy in Berlin as well: “I’ve been busier than ever, and the coming weeks will be packed with more tours, more exploring on my own, lots of german learning, and meeting new and interesting people.”

Although some have used the vacation time as a means to escape their study away site, others have explored the important landmarks in their own country by playing tourist for a few days. Chad Wong, a Shanghai student, took this beautiful photo of the Great Wall of China whilst exploring the nearby Beijing. Look closely and you can see that his friend looks a little tired from the walk.

I’ve always thought that there’s a reason behind the fact that Seasonal Affective Disorder can be abbreviated to SAD. There’s nothing quite as meteorologically depressing as a ceaseless winter, so when springtime does finally come around it’s impossible not to appreciate it.

And, for our friends in the southern hemisphere in Sydney and Buenos Aires: we apologize that you have to wait another half-year to experience this spring-y fun, but we suspect you’ll get along just fine.

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Mentioned in this piece are ourchad, cristidraws, curewanderlust, and awallgoesawol.

Global Blogger Weekly Challenge: 5 

Picky eater? Foodie? Either way, throw yourself into this week’s Food Challenge!

The next time you’re at a restaurant (and you are feeling adventurous) order the meal you find most strange or unappealing. The unusual items are often the most de-LISH! But we don’t make any promises…

Don’t forget to share photos- We want to feature the most adventurous eater on the THIS IS NYU blog! 

College is wonderful — all around the world

During midterms, it’s rare to hear someone say, “College is wonderful.”

But if you’re Riley Rennhack, an NYU Junior majoring in Global Liberal Studies in Buenos Aires, then your exams and research might include exploring Argentine mansions and researching famous writers — a worthy reason to exclaim the virtues of college.

NYUers are doing fascinating things all over the globe, pursuing studies that deeply interest them and experiencing life in a way that’s far different from the normal “college experience” (from Buenos Aires to Prague to Shanghai, NYU students aren’t exactly twiddling their thumbs in their dorm room).

Kelsie Blazier, a Junior in Prague, found time to hop over to Paris with her roommate and reflected on a “magical” weekend that, to the uninitiated, could seem a touch dull. 

“If I told you about my weekend in Paris, you might think it was boring compared to other college kids. The weekend wasn’t wild and nothing insane happened — but the weekend was magical,” she wrote. “Sitting under the Eiffel Tower as it glittered in the night-light show, nibbling on a Nutella-filled crêpe and sitting by a close friend, I was once more reminded how lucky I am.”

The intriguing Zach Wellstood once again found time to explore the city and find extraordinary opportunities for photographs. In this photo, Zach captured what appears to be a bride-to-be wandering gracefully through a construction site in Thames Town, Shanghai, where he’s studying as a junior. 

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And here, Stephanie Queiroz, a sophomore in Paris, explored perhaps the most famous — and prettiest — cemetery in the world: Père Lachaise. As she noted, the Cimetière du Père Lachaise is “where many legends are buried,” including the great chanteuse Edith Piaf, the Polish-French composer Frédéric Chopin, and the ever-clever playwright Molière.

Although you may be buried under a stack of papers and detesting all things school, many NYU students around the world constantly show us that there’s so much more to explore than the library and your desk.

Even if you have only thirty spare minutes, go out and observe your city. Try to find something that perhaps no one else has spotted or do something no one has experienced. Who knows, perhaps soon you’ll be thinking, “college is wonderful,” if only for a moment.

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Mentioned in this piece are yosoyriley, kblogprague, lhaasiri, and stephqueiroz. Check out their blogs!