My name is Eliza Jorgenson and I am currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy, for the fall semester of 2019. Being a studio art major with a concentration in printmaking, I am constantly on the lookout for new and interesting things to focus on and derive my art from. With that, I spend a lot of time alone, wandering. I came on this trip alone and will leave alone. Loneliness is a big part of studying abroad, but I do not consider this necessarily a bad thing. These photos I have chosen to present highlight the importance and beauty you can discover and gain from being alone in a foreign land.
Above is an image of me alone in Florence.
There have been countless times where I’ve just spent hours walking the streets alone just to clear my head. One ends up wandering into unknown gems around the city that make the alone time all the more worth it. Like this image, for instance:
I caught this image of a small flower sale while wandering the streets of Florence. It was during one of my first weeks of being abroad and the way that the shadows cast against the stone and how the flowers encompass this entire small space and swallow the crowd really made me stop and think about where I was and what I was experiencing.
Another moment when I feel the power of loneliness is when I discover a small animal (more often than not, a cat) by themselves, completely at peace. They may be alone but you can see their pure bliss and contentment. They are thriving and living their best lives.
Animals aren’t the only things taking time for themselves. While visiting new places, I am always drawn to the one person who seems completely solitary and outside of the crowd. The ones who are alone, but never feel lonely. A lot of my portraits of humans create an up-close candid of pure singular content. These people don’t seem to be infatuated with the views or constantly buying into consumerism. These people simply are. They live their lives alone, but never seem lonely.
Among my travels alone, I find that I always have more time to think and more possibilities to experience the world at my own pace. It’s so important to be able to form your own views of the world and show the world who you are by yourself, uninfluenced by the constructs of modern-day society or people around you telling you how you should or shouldn’t act. Alone, you simply are. You react to what the world and your new environment provides you, and the world reacts to what you provide it -- a nice ebb and flow.
I took this next image during a solo trip to Dublin. I was wandering, the flags were waving to me, and the world was showing me my path.
Sometimes while studying abroad, you might feel lost or confused within the world, as if your voice may not matter within the thousands of the city, but during these moments you recognize the impact that each new place has on your own. A few months ago, you thought that where you were living was it, that there was nothing else out there. These moments of shock and realization put you in your place. You aren’t really alone. There are thousands of people out there like you, trying to live their own lives on their own.
How they interact with their surroundings is what influences their own personal world.
Your loneliness is valid, but the world will show you how being lonely is never quite true.
Eliza Jorgenson is a CEA MOJO Photographer studying abroad in Florence, Italy, during the Fall 2019 semester. She is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin - Stout.
Eliza Jorgenson is the CEA MOJO Photographer, and is currently studying at University of Wisconsin - Stout.