My last blog was in August and between then and now I have several unfinished posts lying in my dashboard that I always said I would go back to but have never found the time. I guess if I'm being honest, university was always the logical next step and because of this I never really sat down and considered what it would entail.
I love life here. Edinburgh is a fantastic city and with a certain degree of tenacity you will be able to find a wide range of opportunities that align with your interests and passions. But it's easy to underestimate how much it is a radical change from the previous 12 months and I think it will take some time to adapt to the environment here.
How 'good' humans are in adapting and adjusting to their environment is an idea that has been playing on my mind over the past few months. We are remarkably successful at teaching our brains to accept the current environment as normality and once we've made this step then our tastes and preferences within this environment will change accordingly.
The 3 main things that I did when travelling (photography, reading, writing) are habits that I've struggled to maintain in my life here. Instead my time here is focussed around my studies, people and the various new commitments that I couldn't do while motorbiking through the Vietnamese countryside. You learn to focus on these things and when you put effort into something, an emotional connection naturally follows. That's why caring about something new is one of the best ways you can move on from something you once cared about.
A continued observation from travelling is that while the people might change, character traits are pretty much ubiquitous. The priggish Swedish traveller you met in Cusco is replaced by the guy who nonchalantly asks "what A levels did you get?" and "what does your father do?" in the first 5 minutes of conversation in freshers week. Of course that's the minority and most people are just trying to find their place in a foreign, daunting environment.
Despite all this, I'm not sure I want to completely adjust to life here. I don't want to lose the person I was or lose the experiences I had. Of course that is overly dramatic but it's scary to see how the people and the culture here are already influencing my thoughts and actions. I'm more materialistic, I have more long term aims which affect my ability to contemplate the present and it's harder to have a grasp on what's truly important with all the distractions going on around you.
You can combat this by focussing on what is constant; have a long term view on character. If you can control your attitude and your motivations then your actions should naturally follow. Build the house on the rock and not the sand.
Pisco Sin Fronteras was the best and most inspiring part of my trip. Sadly the organisation recently announced that it will be closing in a few months and that revelation was a stark reminder of how much we need to savour what we have in the present. I can't go back there now but I can remember my time in Pisco and the lessons learnt will stay with me as I continue on my next steps.
Before I close I'd recommend checking out this post by Jules who was the project manager during my time volunteering at PSF.
Hopefully I will have more to say soon.