So: what about Europe? I never really finished blogging about it. I’m ready to move on and start blogging about Atlanta because that’s where I am both physically and mentally, but I can’t just not write about Europe. It was an amazing five weeks. Like, the best five weeks.
I’m going to stray from my traditional narrative format to try to paint a picture of my five weeks in Europe in just a few words.
Have you ever seen the movie The Rules of Attraction? Remember when Victor goes to Europe? (WARNING: NOT appropriate to watch at work)
Well. My Eurotrip was nothing like that, but let’s keep up the pace:
Where. Am. I. Delhi today, Frankfurt tomorrow! Diana and amazing couchsurfing experience. COLD. Walk in Frankfurt alone by river. Stoic, austere Germany. People think I’m German – that’s different. Shopping at Primark – wow. Italian dinner and sing-a-long with Steffan and Manu,
German beer, castle at night with Julia, her beautiful room. She leaves me the sweetest breakfast. Salad lunch together, walk around fairtytale land. Hot chocolate. Back to Frankfurt!
Diana and Steffan and Manu sushi night. More sing-a-long (I’ll never think of Wagon Wheel the same way again). Henna tats. Bye!
Dreamy train ride into the Alps through rolling green hills to go volunteer for 10 days. The wonders of being on a schedule: vacuum, mop, and sing all morning, Internet and blogging, running, climbing around in the hills in the afternoon. Day at the castle – magical! I’m Cinderella. Cooking my own food, so happy about salad. Photoshoot princess times.
Thomas meets me at train, beer in hand. Meet the lovely Julia, go dancing at 2001 hip hop club where no one touches each other. Fun fun fun but oh LORD my hangover. Sleepy times at festival in Olympiapark. A confusing and curious numbness in Dachau. Walking around Marienplatz and English Gardens. Sleeping and eating a lot. Lake, bouldering, Bavarian breakfast (yum!), to Paris…
A very cold bus ride (13 hours omg!), Paris ILU – bread, croissants, cheese, chocolate, macarons. Plyler and Appoline Eiffel Tower picnic. Harold, Mackenzie, falafel dinner and drinks by the Seine. Wandering alone – Louvre, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, etc. Everyone is so glamorous and well-dressed. Like what NYC wants to be. The most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. Sacre Coeur and breakfast in Montmartre. Moulin Rouge. Fireman party for Bastille day, drizzunk dancing on the skinniest of bars (how did I not fall off?). 45 min for the toilet. HUNG. OVER. Rideshare to Amsterdam…
Riding on the back of Aletta’s bicycle. Haarlem and staying at her parents’ house while they’re on holiday. Vondelpark picnic. “Mission Internet Impossible” and my interview (another seemingly colossal waste of effort). Lola, Amsterdam sign. Sunset rooftop picnic. Gettin high. Dessert plate. Sleeping in Amsterdam at Lola’s then more biking, red light district, shopping. Stroopwafel! Croquette! Cheese! Wacky folk festival in the park in Haarlem. I’msoDutch.
Holy lord, longest most circuitous busride in the world. The terror of culture shock. Some serious and well-needed alone time at fancy hostel. Camden area very alternative yet somehow still touristy. Charming free tour through the sites. ALL DAY on the computer – getting to Berlin is IMPOSSIBLE.
Rebecca and Molly great girl group dynamic. Indian food twice and Thai food once (It’s no Bangkok but…), graffiti, The Berlin Wall, the hipsters. Joe! Hi!!! Adrian the artist our couchsurfing host. My birthday. Henna in the park. Taylor Cycle makes an appearance. (I’m not surprised anymore to see people out of context) Kristoff’s beautiful gift. Last night in Berlin with Molly. Sleepy and sad. Ready.
I’m so grateful I got to go to Europe. It was everything I had dreamed of and more. I can’t wait to go back and see all of the places I missed this time around…
I was sad to be leaving, but not just because Europe was over; I was sad because my year abroad was over. I posted a goodbye message on Facebook essentially thanking everyone I’d met over the course of my journey for letting me know them and urging anyone who has ever felt complacent or stuck to go on a travel adventure:
“it will reward you because you fell in love – maybe not with a certain person or a specific place, but with moments. and you will conjure them up in your mind and exist in them when the emptiness (‘lightness of being’) becomes too much to bear.
if you don’t know what you’re looking for, go to india, to to europe, go to southeast asia. but i’ll tell you, i think i know what you’re looking for because it’s what we’re all looking for: we’re looking for a freedom, a fullness, a moment, a friend, a companion. we’re looking for connection, and maybe i knew it all along but somehow didn’t know it for sure…
don’t be afraid. you can do anything you want. you are free.”