Santa Barbara beach

The start of a new year is more often than not bound with thoughts of clean slates, fresh starts and lists of resolutions. Whilst the opportunity to begin anew and make positive changes in our lives seems almost ritually inherent in New Year’s festivities, viewing the new year as an exclusive time to enact change is in need of its own makeover. For me, a new year is not about papering over old memories, but adding more colour and texture to one's life story. These experiences, discoveries, interactions and achievements are the means by which we formulate identity. In the same way, I view life as a process of continuation and enrichment; not a roll of film in which the impressions made can be mechanically chopped, edited and manipulated in order to produce a desired effect.

As another chapter of my life begins in a sunnier climate, I would like to send you my warmest greetings from America! I am currently studying abroad in California; a period which I feel sure will afford me a wealth of new experiences, knowledge and friendships; the process of which has already been set in motion even in the two weeks I have been here.

Not at any point during my application to study abroad as I trawled through paperwork, endured the laborious visa process, paid for my flights, packed my bags and said my goodbyes had I actually considered what I was really doing. Not even as I stumbled through LAX airport, dog-tired, jet-lagged and suitcase laden did I stop and think where I was. It wasn't until I had arrived at my university halls and been shown to my room that I actually stopped, looked at my surroundings and wondered for the first time what I was doing in California.

Sometimes I cannot explain the choices I make. Least of all when someone asks me the question point blank; “Why are you studying abroad?”  Sometimes we are the least suitable candidates to delve into the thoroughfares of our own psyche in order to find these answers.

For now, I am happy to say that I am on the pursuit of happiness. When I am asked questions about my travels, I am not content to wring out justifications and conventionalities pre-formed in my mind. I don't always want have to have an answer for everything; rather I want to let the answers emerge naturally through experience.

Blog posts will from now on be a pastiche of fashion, memoir, opinion and study abroad observations. Do keep reading!