What’s the first thought you have when you return home from a long trip?

I’ve been fortunate enough to go on my fair share of vacations over the years, and almost always my thoughts boil down to one thing:
“Man, that felt like it flew by. I wish I could go back for just one more day.”

Granted, our class trip to Wales was far from a “vacation” in many ways, but this time it felt different when I finally returned home to my apartment after over a week of travel, work, leisure and everything in-between.

Here’s what the Transatlantic Storytelling experience taught me about how to make the most out of 10 days.

1. Pack your days with various, and unique, activities

From the moment CT went through the schedule document with us, it looked daunting.

Almost every AM/PM slot was filled with hours worth of things do to. From filming and interviews, to social/networking events and sightseeing.

We would leave our hostel no later than 10 a.m. most days, and not get back until 10pm at the earliest – but through the rigorous schedule, there was never a moment of deja-vu.

Every day was a new experience – a castle, a beach, a cliff, a mountain, or (after the really long days) a pub.

The lack of repetition made each new day feel fresh and exciting – and for that, we have to thank Joe Towns and our other lovely schedule organizers, Rachel Pearce and Rachael Lusted, for massively enhancing our trip.

2. Be with people who push and inspire you

This point was really driven home for me during our time in Wales. It’s one thing to be doing amazing things, but what I’ve found is that it’s the people you’re with who push the experience from memorable to unforgettable.

As someone who is at times reluctant to do new things, I cannot understate how awesome it was to have so many people around me willing to say “yes” to every new experience. Why not go for a walk through the arcades before our call time? Why not go off the beaten path to see a breathtaking view at Dunraven Bay?

The students and instructors alike were never the least-bit hesitant – which helped me experience things I maybe wouldn’t have alone.

3. Have purpose

This part is where luck comes in. As I mentioned earlier, our trip wasn’t exactly a vacation.

We just so happened to be shooting a documentary featuring seven main subjects, 21 interviews and a theme that stretches across the history of sport in an entire country.

How many college students (or anyone for that matter) get the opportunity to do that?

Part of what made the trip so special is knowing that the Transatlantic Storytelling project was not starting and ending within 10 days. We took part of Cardiff home with us, and we’ll be sharing it with the world soon. That’s about as purposeful as anything I’ll ever do.

I am the lead producer for a feature on professional netball player, Lydia Hitchings. Netball was a sport going into the project I wanted to learn more about.

Hitchings is a Cardiff Met student in the School of Art, so we immediately knew we needed to film in her studio. Between on-campus interviews, the many cultural experiences, filming with Lydia and assisting my other classmates filming their projects, we were immersed in the Welsh culture.

So, what was my first thought when I returned from Wales? It certainly wasn’t, “Man, that felt like it flew by.” It couldn’t be further from it. I felt like we spent a month there, in the best way possible.

To ask for one more day would be selfish.

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