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Assignment: Radio is where you'll find news and public affairs content produced by students studying journalism and/or broadcasting at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Some of these student-produced news reports focus on issues and events on the OU campus; others have a broader interest.

How To Find Yourself While Traveling The World: A Personal Essay

Ana Noshpal

Traveling abroad is a tricky thing. You learn and experience so much, meet new people….but it can be very isolating and lonely at times. Assignment: Radio’s Ana Noshpal tells the story of the first time she felt she had found who she was, in the context of another country. 

Macedonian version.WAV (online-audio-converter.com).mp3
Macedonian: Assignment:Radio reporter Ana Noshpal's personal essay about her journey as a world traveller.

While I was searching for myself...  I was already in the sky above all those countries that I could only dream of .. places that I had only seen in movies..

While I was searching for myself...  I was already flying over the vast blue ocean..

While I was searching for myself...  I was already walking through the airport with thousand questions flying on my had..

While I was searching for myself...  I start meeting new people, places and things..

While I was searching for myself...  I managed somehow to get lost .. to lose all I had until the moment I started the quest for finding me…

My country is far away.. And only few of you know where is it. It is so small that many of you could not even show it on the map.. But Macedonia is really warm.. Warm from the honest looks of my parents, warm from the real hugs of my friends, warm from my longing for it..

Far away... That is actually how I felt. Far away from everything that I knew.. I was alone, lonely and lost...  

But I was excited. I wanted to conquer these new places. To find them and feel them. My heart was beating with the rhythm of my country, but here.. that rhythm was different. The melody that I make with my steps on these streets is not the same as those at home. Surrounded by thousands and still alone. Lonely. Lost.

Then, I stared thinking. OK. The rhythm of life is different, but there must be something at least similar. Here and there you can find people if nothing else.

I finally started finding myself. I found myself in a new faces, streets…in a new region.  

I found my self around people with huge smiles and hands open wide. I found myself on wide-open paths. Filled with energy, they start following my steps. I started creating new melodies. With new people in new places. I found my self.

Credit Ana Noshpal
Ana Noshpal and her sister and niece.

But then, I found a fake smiles... Yes, cold smiles and hugs... empty words..

As time passed by, I realized that they were fake because, here the hearts of the people beat with a  different rhythm.

Just like When you write your name in the sand along the shore, the first wave will fade your name, the second one ... will erase it completely. That’s how I felt with my new friends. Like a name written on the shore.

I was afraid to be a friend because I was afraid a wave would come and erase our friendship from their existence.

But I didn't know then what I know now.

Credit Ana Noshpal

Ohh.. the time flies.. days and weeks are passing by so fast..

I learned that there is a way to keep my name on the coast and not to be erased from the waves of the sea. Now I wake up happy. I drink my morning coffee filled with happiness. I breathe deeply and remember the smell of the coffee in my country. Now both smell the same. I can feel the peace, the calmness and harmony. I walk the street, and while walking I feel new melody under my feet, in my ears, a new music into my heart.

Now everything is crystal clear. It’s a new language, but the words are the same. They talk about happiness, beauty, warmth. I meet people who have become my friends, I meet with their friends too. It reminds me of my friends at home. Now both are equally dear to me. Now, the one who were far away from me, soon they will be very close and the others so far from me.. (or those now far but soon very close, and those so close but soon far from me).

But I see both with eyes full of tenderness... Eyes full of sincerity, and in return I get warm and sweet smile.

I have found myself… But in both countries - two very different worlds. And to be honest I can't say for sure which one is the real one, the one that is mine. Maybe both are.  Maybe…

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