About Me

Hi! My name is Rebecca and I am the voice behind the chaos that is Viaggiatory: The View From Abroad. I am a 22-year old graduate student originally from Howard County, Maryland currently studying International Relations at King's College London. This blog started as a way to document my travels for my family during my junior year abroad and has since morphed into so much more. Now this blog serves as a place where I record my thoughts about transitioning from my rural, undergraduate university of just 2000 students, to life as a graduate student in London, England. Oh, and a forum for my ramblings on those topics that interest me the most: travel, international politics, fitness, family, cooking, and running.

Born and raised in Maryland, I left home at age 18 to attend St. Mary's College of Maryland in rural southern Maryland, 2 hours from home. Separated from friends and family, and being of a relatively quiet disposition, I spent my freshman year unhappy at my isolated college and fell into an unhealthy lifestyle 'rut'. Since my life centered around being a member of the rowing team (and the 4:30AM wake-up calls associated with it), I thought that I could eat whatever I wanted (an idea encouraged by the availability of buffet-style food service). I was wrong. As the weight piled onto my already overweight frame, I gradually gave up hope that there was nothing I would be able to do to change the situation. And so I accepted my role as 'the fat girl' and behaved accordingly.

All of this changed in December 2007 when several things happened in short succession: my Mum revealed that she had suffered a stroke at the age of 47 and I was accepted to study at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England for fall 2008. The final straw was seeing pictures of myself that a friend had taken at a recent Native American History Day. Horrified by what I saw and shocked out of my youthful beliefs that illness would never touch me (or my loved ones), I resolved to change. I started running (walking with bouts of running rather) around my college track (usually at 11PM to avoid being seen) in January. Although running was horrible at first (especially since I could only successfully manage to run 1 lap around the quarter-mile track), I became increasingly addicted with each mile that passed.

Jet-setting across the Atlantic to spend my junior year abroad furthered my lifestyle changes. From September through December 2008, I studied at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England. January to June 2009 was spent in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. During this time, I not only thoroughly explored the UK, but also traveled to Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Ireland. I competed in my first ever race - the Bupa 2009 Great Edinburgh 10k Run, and gradually began to see myself as a 'runner'. When I graduated from St. Mary's with my bachelor's degree in History and Museum Studies in May 2010, I was the healthiest I had ever been.

Since then, I've adopted an even healthier lifestyle, won my first 5k, run 2 half marathon, a full marathon, and moved permanently to the UK. It's been a huge change, but an exciting one.  And life has never been better.

"Is fheàrr fheuchainn na bhith san dùil". It is better to try than to hope.