Durham’s a beautiful, twee little town that I absolutely adore most of the time. But in a university town this small, it’s a weird bubble that’s strangely disjointed from the outside world.
Life in “the Durham bubble” comprises a lot of walking on cobbled streets, lectures, tea, and not much else; real world news and happenings are somewhat alien and just don’t seem to belong. This gets a bit much some days, so I recently decided to take a short, impromptu trip to Paris.
My friends will all testify to my love for travelling – I’ve been to 10 different countries since the start of this year. It’s my “restart” button to refresh myself and refocus on life. Getting away forces me to forget everything that’s stressing me out and gives me space to recharge. And when I return, I am almost always back to full capacity, with new ideas on how to tackle the things that had been on my mind.
Before going to Paris, I had fallen into the trap of mindlessly going to lectures and not listening, chilling with my friends, and getting ridiculously worked up about dishes in the sink.
My productivity levels had levelled off, and although I was still getting things done, I was trudging painfully, slowly through them. Being in Paris for the weekend and eating expensive French food to my heart’s content definitely refuelled my soul – hence why I’ve even got the motivation to write this article – and I’m starting to think that maybe the kids who “find themselves” while travelling during the “gap yah” are onto something.
Even if you’re not in a town as insular as Durham, it’s easy to get caught up in your own “bubble” of university life, regardless of where you are.
I’m definitely not advocating skipping school or partying all week, but taking some time off to see the sights is never a bad thing. Sometimes it’s necessary to get out and remind yourself there’s a big, wide world out there.