Oh, Taylor. There is no way to prepare you fully for the experience you are about to immerse yourself in. There are no words that fully encapsulate what the following weeks of your life will become. You have dreamed of this moment for most of your life — I know how excited you are.
The first thing I will say, is to take a deep breath. Try to relax. Do not ever lose the notion of doing things for yourself, doing what your body needs you to be doing. You have so many expectations, you feel as though you have so little time, but what is meant to happen will happen. You will go where you are meant to go, you will see what you are meant to see.
The next thing that I will tell you is that things will go wrong. All of the time. You will be more tested here than you ever have been before — but it will be okay. You will be okay. At the end of this, I can say now that I really have had to deal with almost every situation that can go wrong in a foreign country, and it has made me a better person.
What I wish I knew, and what I wish I could go back and change, is how much you will forget. I can hardly remember the first few weeks I was here, all of the time blends together. I wish I could go back, write it all down, make a journal of my journeys and my experiences here. It seemed like a hassle at the time — but it’s my biggest regret.
Time here flies by so fast, and you will never have another experience like this in your life. But with that, it’s important to relieve yourself of some of the pressure you put on your shoulders to make the most of every second. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something if you are exhausted — it will not be that enjoyable.
Looking back now, I am surprised how I was able to do in such a short time. I have not been able to quite yet consider the extensive planning, the coordination of logistics, and the personal growth I have achieved.
So, to the girl who patiently awaited for January 13th to arrive, to the girl that anticipated her one-way ticket to Florence so that she could see the world — this experience will be everything that it is meant to be. Let go of your expectations, let go of your conceived plans — and let life happen. Romanticize every part of your life, make life your own movie, and soak up every minute of it.
Sincerely, a wiser, more patient, more cultured, and better version of yourself.