“Now that we’re friends, you’re fired.” — My Boss

Probably not something you want to hear from your boss. Especially after you secretly video her on Snapchat singing Karaoke for the world to see. Fortunately, she was only joking (I think.)

However, there’s a lesson to be learned here. The word “fired” is gut-wrenching to hear. But often people my age assume they will never hear the words “you’re fired” (not a nod to Trump’s ‘The Apprentice”). Millennials (stereotypically) can be over confident in their abilities to successfully complete a job. Let’s refer to the American concept that “everyone gets a trophy,” an idea to spare the feelings of children who blatantly suck at something. An idea that provides encouragement while simultaneously surrounding kids in a bubble from reality.

TBH, I’m one of those over-confident millennials. And it’s taken post-graduate internships and jobs to make me realize I’m good at what I do, but I haven’t mastered the art of my profession… Yet.   And I’m willing to bet most my age haven’t, either.

I promise I’m anything but wise. I only just graduated from college myself. However, I’ve faced many moments of stress and panic now that I’m a big kid. From difficult tasks at my job to planning what my next big move is, I’ve realized that the real learning starts after school.

While it’s taken me some time to realize that I’m truly not ‘untouchable’ after years of being spoon fed by teachers, mentors, club advisers and college professors (like many who partake in the US educational system), I’m fortunate to have had some recent wake up calls before reality slapped me in the face, leaving a permanent mark.

The challenge for me (and I’m sure for many millennials) is that I struggle admitting when I make a mistake. Just like the word “fired,” people sometimes also fear the word “mistake.” So I’ll spare you from saying that mistakes are life’s greatest lessons because deep down we all know there is some truth to the phrase. But once you develop the courage to tell your boss or colleagues you’ve made a mistake and need help is when you start your training in mastering your profession. The reality is that you will most likely never hear the words “you’re fired” so long as you make the transparent effort to do a job well done.

Just don’t snapchat your boss singing karaoke.

Fortunately, I still have my job and my boss still considers me a friend.

Still employed,

—NM

I can’t handle any more tea time.

Back in the states when someone asked me to join them for “tea” it usually meant martini’s after a long day at work. In England apparently it’s not the same. When asked to take a “tea break” it actually means real, legit English tea. (Who would’ve thought?)

Of course, my American and millennial mind didn’t truly expect “tea time” to consist of drinking cocktails like what I’m used to back home (much to my dismay.) I was anticipating the routine, casual breaks to sip on tea while engaging in sophisticated conversation with my colleagues.

It turns out tea time isn’t like that in England, either. *Sigh*

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a British Red Cross first aid training course as part of my new job working in student development. As someone who cringes, gags and cowers at the site of blood and gore I was looking forward to three days in my own personal hell. Wasting no time, the first day consisted of learning CPR and using a defibrillator (Low-key “defib” trigger happy and looking forward to the chance to use it to save a life.) The first day also consisted of four thirty-minute tea breaks.

Four. 4. F-O-U-R.

*Insert Nolan’s impatience here*

While I’m all for a good restful break after a cardio workout (AKA CPR practice), my main objective was to end the day as quickly as possible with the hope I wouldn’t vomit before the course was complete. All I could think about was the fact my colleagues and I left at 4 p.m. when the course could’ve easily ended at 2 p.m. That’s an extra two hours I could’ve blogged. Or napped.

Now that it’s over, hindsight is 20/20. Despite being on the verge of telling the instructor and my peers to drink their tea quicker, I’m glad I didn’t. Here’s why: When someone is preparing to move to another country like I have they’re typically warned about the cultural differences between countries. “Never shake their hands, kiss them once on each cheek instead,” or “always take your shoes off when you enter someone’s home, otherwise it’s insulting,” or “to Americans, time is money, while some other cultures ignore punctuality for the sake of ‘living in the moment.’”

Despite being the “Mother Country” of the US, I’m rediscovering the many cultural differences between the English and Americans. It can be easy for one to become comfortable in a new country after so long, but that’s no reason to forget about respecting the lifestyles who share this world with you (Trump, please take note.) And while the celebration of tea time is only a minor cultural difference, my encounter with it at first aid training is symbolic of the fact international residents may be exposed to cultural differences at any moment. Being exposed to these differences, however, are the greatest “traveling lessons.”

That’s not to say that you must feel obligated to partake in cultural traditions that are different from your own. By immersing myself into conversations with locals in another country, I have an opportunity to learn about other cultures while also teaching them of my own traditions and beliefs. A win-win situation, really. The key, however, is to respect each other’s traditions, beliefs and differences. Even if it’s as minor as an extended tea break.

Don’t worry, though. As a caffeine addict I am always looking forward to a good coffee break, which is a respectful substitute for tea in England. So while I can’t handle anymore tea, may my coffee cup runneth over. Or my martini glass.

—NM

Lake District Nostalgia

It usually starts with a flutter in the chest and a feeling of butterflies in the stomach. That feeling of romantic nostalgia that forces you to take a deep breath as you soak up the views of the English landscape around you. The Lake District is an area that inspires the most talented writers and the most simplistic people. From foggy views to waterfall climbing, the adventures to be had in the District are vast, making it a special experience as I share it with the students of Harlaxton College Spring 2017.

Here I go talking about being back at the Manor after a four-year absence following my time as a student in 2012. A trip that is unlike any other in Europe, the Lake District encourages students to become one with nature. For someone like me, that can be a task. However, as I reflect back on my time visiting the Lake District as a student while sitting in a café today overlooking Windermere Lake, I’m reminded of how surreal it felt to be exploring the most beautiful parts of the English countryside.

The second time around, however, it’s much different (better.)

This is the time in the middle of the semester that I start getting serious and sappy. When I was a student I remember how easy it was to get caught in the excitement around me (making new friends, trying to cram so many trips into the semester, etc.) This time I’m able to mentally compartmentalize my job from my Harlaxton 2.0 experience. I know that our time is coming to a close and I remember the struggle of leaving the place we’ve all called home for so long.  The one thing that makes this semester so much better than my first are the students.

*Gasp*

I’m usually not one to get attached to anyone. Nor am I person who gets warm and fuzzy easy, but getting to share this Lake District experience with the students I’ve grown to known and love is irreplaceable. I sit down and converse with them every day. I canoe with them. I get to know them as a person and not as student who I’m responsible for chaperoning. And it’s a true honor.

So my trip to the Lake District this past weekend was an eye-opening experience. It has hit me that I only have a few more weeks with the Spring 2017 students. And while I don’t want the semester to end, I’m reminded that our time together is precious and brief. I look forward to the remaining time I have with the students and prepare for our separation on April 19.

The Lake District is almost like a magical land. It surrounds you in a fairytale environment of woods, fog, lakes and moss. For me, it engulfs me in nostalgia and holds me back, encouraging me to take a deep breath and absorb the beauty of the landscape (and people) around me.

—NM

“No, you actually do not spell my name Knowland.” — Me

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“No, you actually do not spell my name Knowland.” — Me

Far too often I receive a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop with my name misspelled. But as an avid fan of caffeine I simply smile and say thank you because my only concern at that point is if the barista remembered to put an extra shot of espresso in my venti skinny Flat White with coconut milk. If they did forget my extra shot of espresso though… (well, that’s a rant for another blog post.)

I digress.

I’m Nolan Miles — A 23-year-old recent college graduate wandering the UK as a media intern in search of my next big move. Whether that be professional dog walking in Sydney, serving coffee at a local shop in Florence or (preferably) working at a global public relations and advertising agency, I’m both #blessed and #stressed for the new adventures and uncertainties that lie ahead.

“#MilesTraveled is my new hashtag” — Also me

I should start by warning any readers that this blog is yet another amidst the millions of others online written by millennials to document their adventures or mediocre life (I’m probably considered a member of the latter.) I should also warn any readers that this blog will probably be filled with millennial lingo, trends and other things that will embarrass me when I look back on it ten years from now.

With that being said, Miles Traveled is a blog about working abroad and any ‘ah-ha” moments and interesting occurrences that happen while traveling the European continent.

Also, yes. I did come up with the hashtag and I’m admittedly very proud of it. #MilesTraveled #blessed #happy #hashtag

“Are you an interior designer?” — The Pinterest followers I don’t have

No, but sometimes I wish I was. I’m a public relations new pro working as the media coordinator for a study abroad program called Harlaxton College. I do have a passion for interior design, but I also have a passion to write and produce digital content. It’s interesting how well writing and a sense of design go together. So don’t be surprised if you also see content about my other passions, like interior design, certain social issues and gummy bears.

Without further ado, please enjoy any future posts from yours truly!

Knowland

JK, Nolan Miles (—NM)