Traveling isn’t always what it takes to find yourself.

Wake up. Go to Pure Barre with my best friend Maddie. Get Starbucks. Go to work. Grab Med Deli for dinner. Walk home. Go to bed before 10 p.m. Repeat. 

This was my summer. In April, I decided to pass up a summer in London for a summer in Chapel Hill because I wanted to earn money instead of spending it (for once). In doing this, I thought I was giving up an experience that would change my life. My days and thoughts had become repetitive in Chapel Hill and I believed a summer in London would tear me from the rut I was in. 

As it turns out, staying in Chapel Hill was just what I needed to rediscover the things that make me excited about life. I know this is a broad statement- but I mean it as it is. One of my favorite things to do for most of my life was to run. About a year ago, I started to have problems with my knee and I haven’t been able to run at all since last September. I started going to the local Pure Barre studio as a way of getting a full body workout without bone impact. But it wasn’t until this summer when I went every day, not as a student, but as a member of the Chapel Hill community, that I started to make friends at the studio who weren’t in my sorority or history class, and this felt great. 

My best friend Maddie started coming with me to Pure Barre. As we made more friends at the studio, we began going to more community health events. We went to an outdoor yoga class in Durham one night and we did hot yoga with a group of yogis one morning. I began eating healthier- not because I was trying to lose weight, but because hanging out with healthy people changed my perspective on how I should treat my body. Where most college kids who stayed in Chapel Hill for summer school frequented the bars and fast food, Maddie and I frequented the Barre and Whole Foods. 

By staying in Chapel Hill this summer instead of going to London as an escape, I got a glimpse into what my life will be like if I keep doing things that make me happy and healthy. I love to travel and am not saying I will never study abroad. Sometimes, though, leaving your community isn’t the way to find meaning in your life. It’s often as simple as remembering what makes you feel happy and doing just that. 

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