I’ve been trying to find the words to describe how I feel now that I’ve lived across the pond. I’ve been trying to find the words to describe the pain, the loss, the homesickness, the happiness, the experience I shared, but I just haven’t found the words. So much of me is aching, so much of me is growing, so much of me is lonely, but so much of me has been sewn back together because of this place that you call Cambridge, but I call home.

I’ve been seeking and looking for something to show me what it is to be a person of faith, and a person of character in this world. Since I can remember I’ve been searching for something to be MY place, to be MY journey, instead of seeking after what people want from me or expect from me, that place has always been England for me. Even before I graced its shores, I knew that it is where I’m supposed to be for at least a season in my life. I still don’t believe that season is over. This past semester was only the beginning.

The beginning of something tragically, beautiful. A story of growth, redemption, and peace. I’ve never felt peace like I did walking the streets of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. I’ve never felt growth like I did walking the streets of London by myself for the first time. I’ve never felt redemption the way I did the first time I attended a church service in a coffee shop. This is what people don’t understand. Travel, and culture, it’s not about the education, it’s about the people, the experience, and the things you carry with you afterward.

 Over the course of this year I have experienced things I never thought that I would be able to. I walked the streets of C.S. Lewis, I ran along the side of the cliffs of Moher, I saw the ruins of ancient Rome, I stood where Mozart stood in Austria, and so much more. Not only did I experience the culture around me, but I spent countless hours discussing political theories, the history of England, and who God is with students of Cambridge University. These were some of the deepest relationships I’ve ever formed, but more importantly, they embodied the moments in which I discovered something new about myself.

If I could explain my England experience in a word, it would be: Open.

That may sound strange to you, who goes to England and the word that pops in their head has nothing to do with a cultural pop reference? You see, that’s not what this trip means to me, it’s not something that I went to and only came back with more knowledge of the country than I did before. It is a trip that I came back wide OPEN from.

I came back broken yet healed. I came back longing for something more. I learned so much about kindness, about love, and about myself that how on Earth could I not come back OPEN, waiting for something bigger than myself. I’m OPEN to learning, to loving, to caring, to creating so much more now. I’m not afraid to be OPEN with people. I’m not afraid to keep my hands OPEN towards God. I’m not afraid to be OPEN to heartache, to romance, to friendship, to new ideas. I’m more accepting. I’m more capable than I have ever been.

Cambridge, the trip that changed my heart for good.

Cambridge, a place to call home.

Lily Scott