Somehow, four years have passed since I arrived at UConn. I feel like my high school graduation wasn’t far away enough for me to be graduating from college in less than two weeks. It’s as if I just attended my first Daily Campus meeting, one of my favorite things I have become involved with while in college. Instead, I am sitting down to write my last column and will see The Daily Campus print my name for the last time. Various articles covering events, tips to survive finals, book reviews, five semesters of “The Dog Ear” column and one semester of “The Traveling Husky” have constituted my writing career here in Storrs. I’ve come a long way from Alyssa World News, the handmade newspaper I would create for my parents when I was a kid.
Alyssa World News was not a worldly newspaper. It was strictly about my world, the world of an elementary schooler from Monroe, Conn. However, this creation of mine fueled my desire for writing. As I grew older, Alyssa World News expired and I eagerly wanted to write for an actual publication. I remember seeing a copy of The Daily Campus in Towers dining hall at the start of my first semester. I was so excited and jumped at the chance to write for the newspaper. At last I was writing for a broad audience, one that extended far beyond my parents.
Through “The Traveling Husky,” I was able to write about the world. There are some similarities between this column and my childhood creation. Both were subjective documentations of my life, every experience influenced by previous ones and my perspectives of life influencing my perceptions on what I was exposed to when traveling. The concept of travel writing is worldly. After all, you are writing about the world, but the thought process behind it isn’t always.
That’s OK, though. What drove me to write this column is my belief in the importance of writing about your travels. Everyone has their own twist to how they experience different places and their interpretations of different cultures. I bring a journal with me whenever I go abroad because it’s hard to look back and remember exactly how I felt in a certain situation. I have to write about everything or I will never remember it all. There is always so much to take in. When I travel, I feel alive. My eyes take in historic monuments, my ears the sound of street performers and my taste buds experience native cuisine. All of that is documented, in both written and pictorial form.
I never travel without a camera. The pictures you bring home with you will be more valuable to you than any souvenir ever could. You’ll eat all the Cadbury chocolate, you may lose that t-shirt and that book will sit on your bookshelf. Your photos, though? They can be used in a variety of ways and will last longer than purchases. I always make a scrapbook from my trips. I love looking back at my past adventures and it motivates me to continue having new ones.
Unfortunately, pictures can’t always do justice to the beauty in the world. I distinctly remember one night in London. My friends and I had just left Shakespeare’s Globe after seeing a performance of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” It was the first time I had been by the Thames River at night. The view was breathtaking. As I walked to the middle of Millennium Bridge, I gazed down the river and saw all of the other bridges and buildings were lit up. It was a beautiful sight, a different type of skyline than the New York one I am quite familiar with. After desperate attempts to capture the cityscape with my camera, which produced poor-quality images, I realized that my words would be the only way to preserve that moment.
It is through words and pictures that I have captured my UConn career as well. While UConn wouldn’t be considered traveling per se, it was in a way. Like traveling, these four years have been spent away from home, developing new relationships with others and learning. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip or better people to be with on this journey.