This I Believe

Nicole - Mandeville, Louisiana
Entered on September 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the depth of self. I believe that sometimes it takes getting away to find what was already there.

I packed my suitcase on a Friday night in the city of Mandeville. Forty-eight hours later I was strolling through the park outside of the palace of Princess Diana.

This summer I took the trip of a lifetime. I journeyed from the heart of the deep south to the British Isles. For four weeks I wandered the streets of a place far from home. I saw London, Paris and the Scottish highlands. It took a plane ride to a land I had never seen for me to truly see myself.

I boarded Continental Airlines with 22 others from LSU. We lived in London for two weeks. We took a train into Scotland. We flew to Paris, my new home away from home.

In those four weeks I meet myself. For my entire life I had resided in the great state of Louisiana. I was well taken care of. I have always had the things I needed, often my wants too. The European realm, though, was where my greatest need would eventually be meet.

I had to go thousands of miles to find my passion. My passion is for independence. I have always been the rebel in my family. I always claimed to be independent from everyone and everything. In Europe, though, I learned what independence can really be.

I wandered the tubes of London alone. I discovered the museums of Paris by myself. I crept through the mountains of Scotland solo.

Don’t be fooled. I was surrounded by people, most of the time. Whether they were my schoolmates or utter strangers, they were around. The independence I found was inside. I leaned on no shoulders for my aid. I found no hands to pick me up when I fell. Most importantly, I had no heart to share my heart with.

You see, for years I have been independent of family. I have bounced amongst friends. I have been tied down to nothing. I have never felt alone, though, because it was by choice that I was so unattached. Europe left me no choice.

I saw into myself the way I had never seen before. All those hours I have spent in books, in coffee shops, or on park benches were fruitless as compared to the 31 days I spent exploring. I found within me a passion for history. I also found a passion for beauty beyond my wildest imagination. I saw into my future more than I have ever been able to see in even my present.

The British Isles are where I found my heart. I found what makes me tick. I discovered what it means to be me. Now I know that being me is reliant upon no circumstance, person or location.

This summer I went to the British Isles. While I was there I took the trip of a lifetime…a journey into the depths of me.