Checked Baggage vs Carry-On

As I wrap up my seventh week abroad, I have realized just how different my worries and stresses are in Italy versus in America. In America, I have to deal with the idea of starting my life when I get back as I am graduating in December. However, in Italy my stresses bounce between different things. Between measuring my carry-on suitcase (the baggage sizes are different on Ryanair than they are on Delta), and learning how to use a Moka pot instead of a coffee pot, living abroad has its own unique sets of challenges. 

Learning to pack up the worries and stresses that I cannot do anything about while abroad has been something challenging for me. As a senior graduating, the idea of going home and facing the reality of starting new again is scary. When I get back, I need to find a job, a new city to live in, and an apartment. But I always have to remind myself that those are stresses for when I get back. Those are stresses I put in my checked bag, things that I need to stow away until I get home. Being able to carefully tuck these things away in my checked bag and take a breath and a step away has allowed me to fully enjoy my time in Italy.

My carry-on bag is the bag I take with me everywhere. It is full of thoughts of my friends and family, my cat at home, and all the little things that I miss from home but that bring me joy when I think about them. My carry-on bag is also where I am putting all the happy, beautiful memories I am making on this trip. This bag also contains my stresses of being in Italy. From making the last train of the night, to figuring out the English translations of the foods I need in the grocery store. Italy has unique challenges, ones that I hold in my carry on as I am here. 

Learning the difference between what I need to pack in my carry on and what I need to stow away in my checked back has been one of the most important things I have learned while I have been experiencing Italy. Although I will have to face reality when I get home, being able to let go and live in the moment of being in Italy is something I will treasure forever. 

With love, 

Cate Jerozal

A photo of me sitting on a brick wall in Lucca, Italy, smiling at the camera
Creating memories in Lucca to add to my carry-on bag and keep close to me forever.