As of December 5th, 2011, the Basis of Medicine ended, which means the 1.5 years of lectures are now over forever. In January, we go into the hospitals as second-year medical students: naive, wide-eyed, eager. Ready to be unready for the experiences that will shape our lifelong careers.
Although we still pay tuition, we no longer have summer vacation as we once knew, as we are thrown into work at the bottom of the hospital food chain. I am genuinely thrilled.
However, January has not yet arrived. As such, all of the colleagues in my class are taking full advantage of this last month off, each in our own way, before we essentially start our careers.
For me, this month is a month of traveling, and this is the first time I’ve traveled to multiple destinations in one trip, visiting friends and family literally all over the world. I figured, when am I going to get this guilt-free month-long opportunity again? Probably not for years.
Thus, I am now on the third leg of a little December journey, and I am having an amazing time.
The brilliance of traveling to multiple locations like this is that I realized that each place I go to ends up reminding me of my past – a specific time in my life and the specific person I was at that time; engaging different, specific parts of my being.
In New York City, for example, I stayed with a friend I admire tremendously, and we share a strong interest in theatre, so some might say we were in the right city, and my theatre side was entirely fulfilled by seeing three shows, critiquing them with him, singing theatre tune after theatre tune with him as we walked home down the streets of Manhattan, and meeting many of his wonderful friends who are passionate about (and in many cases working in) theatre as well.
In Pennsylvania, I spent some quality time in the suburbs with my family of friends there, and it was like I warped back in time to when I spent a year with them, picking up exactly where we left off and having those simultaneously intense and silly conversations and experiences that characterize our family. The pancake-toast man captured in the photo above is characteristic of our silliness =P.
Now I’m in LA with one of my best friends, and, of course, the focus is on going to the theatre and owning Hollywood, but in truth, it doesn’t really matter what we do, because he ends up dragging me on adventures anyway – just like old times.
And when I get to Southeast Asia and I’m with my family, I know that I’ll revert back to being a child: being told what to do, but ultimately, loving being taken care of (as long as it’s for a short period of time).
And it’s just funny that when most people think of travel, they seem to mean traveling to new destinations in order to open up their eyes to new worlds and things they’ve never seen.
For me, traveling seems to let me do the opposite: to go back in time to relive the best parts of my past. How awesome is that?