Studying abroad is a blast and a half. You’re in a new country, you’ve met awesome people, and you’re making memories to last a lifetime. But if I told you it was the time of my life 24/7, I’d be lying.
Like anything, studying abroad has its downsides. When you’re in a big city like London, it can feel like you’re doing so much, but there are still so many unmarked boxes on your checklist-of-fun. Feeling the need to “go” all of the time is exhausting, and I’ve found that it is crucial to make space for down time. For me, that has looked like Netflix and a good knitting pattern.
Some of you might be thinking, “How can you stay in your room and watch Netflix when you could be out exploring the city?!” Trust me, I know. Sometimes I do feel a bit guilty for just sitting around. But, if I were to go out every single day and travel every weekend, I would be absolutely exhausted. And, my Netflix habits have actually taken me on a few adventures!
In September, I fell in love with the Outlander series. And coincidentally, the story takes place in the Highlands of Scotland. So as I was planning my trip into the Highlands, I made sure to book a bus tour that would take me to areas of the country that inspired the books and were included in the tv series. While on the tour, I saw the rock formation that gave author Diana Gabaldon the idea to send Claire Beachaump back to 1700s Scotland through a stone circle. And my tour guide played the tv show’s theme song “Skye Boat Song” as we crossed the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Plus, I was able to buy the first book in the series from a bookstore on the Isle of Skye.
While on my trip, I put my knitting habits to good use, and I finished a pair of socks on the bus. Nothing keeps the rain and mist off your toes like a pair of wool socks! Having a craft that keeps my hands busy means that I can be productive even in my downtime. Since returning to London, I’ve started knitting my first sweater! While abroad, I have purchased yarn from yarn stores in Scotland and in London. In doing so, not only am I supporting local businesses and industries, I am also able to create my own special souvenirs. A pair of socks isn’t just a pair of socks when you have created them out of wool from a sheep that was raised in the Scottish Highlands.