It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog and now I’m writing my last one back home in the Netherlands.
It’s has been quite the experience the past seven months and that’s why Global Citizen Year asks each of us to do a final project ‘the Capstone Project’ and a reflection blog. While reflection assignments have slowly but surely gotten a negative connotation in my mind over the past three years, I have found this last one quite worthwhile. The prompt was to find a way in which you could reflect on important experiences in your gap year and share them with your friends and family.
I settled on the idea to look through my photos and to write down the stories behind the photos that aren’t visible from the surface. This turned out to be a good way for me to reflect on my year in a couple of ways.
First of all, it was a lot of fun to look through it and it helped me put things in order in my mind; which events happened at the beginning of my gap year and which ones followed. Which family members I met first and which ones I only got to meet in my last weeks. Looking from this outsiders perspective on my year helped me to put the fragmented parts together into a coherent whole. And once I began to do this, reflecting on individual experiences or larger periods became easier and clearer.
I also experienced benefits of this project by knowing which photos carry deeper stories with them. It becomes a lot more valuable for me and for the person who’s looking through my photos to hear such stories. It creates depth in my experiences and it once again helps to connect the dots between seemingly fragmented and separated experiences.
While it helps me to reflect in this way on my gap year, equally important is the effect it might have on other people. As it is important for the storyteller to share stories that are deeper than the surface level, it is also necessary for the listener to engage and ask for such stories. I hope therefore that it encourages people to not only flip through photos of someone back from travelling but that they are also interested in the potential stories behind those photos.
I’m sure sharing travel experiences becomes in this way more enjoyable and rewarding for all.
Thanks to all who’ve been there with me in person, in spirit or digital during my gap year,