Throwback Thursday: Travel Rendition
Well, we are off on our next big adventure today! This morning we boarded a plane in Denver, and in a “short” 21 hours we will be across the world in Bangkok. Gah! We have been planning our Asian getaway for what seems like ages now. In reality, we decided back in January and bought tickets in May. Either way, the fact that we are finally flying still seems a little surreal and we are beyond excited to get there.
In honor of this day arriving, I thought it might be fun to post a little throwback to my European backpacking adventure in 2014. I wrote this post, for the previous version of Greater Altitudes, the day I was coming home after spending 6 weeks in Europe, but it has since been removed as I revamped the blog.
February 6, 2014
42 days. 13 hostels. 11 cities. 7 countries. 9 flights. 4 trains. 3 buses. 1 backpack. 1 girl.
Well it is over. My whirlwind, Europe trip has come to an end.
I wrote about my decision to come home in previous posts and I am still confident it was the right choice, but I am in shock that my time in Europe has truly come to an end. After waiting for December 27th for so long it is almost inconceivable that I am returning to Colorado today. How can something I waited for for so long be done so quickly?
My experiences were everything I imagined and more. They changed, not only how I look at the world and traveling, but also how I will choose to live my life from here on out.
I refuse to be scared of the world and I will always keep traveling. But 6 weeks ago I didn’t quite feel that same way:
When I was sitting at my gate in Denver’s airport I almost didn’t get on the plane.
I haven’t really told anyone that. But here I am telling you all. I was scared (excuse my language) shitless. I had to force myself not to A) break down crying or B) run back out to my parents and bail on the entire trip. I don’t like to admit weakness (who does?) but I think this is an important part of my trip to share. Because it turns out sometimes the things that scare you the most end up being the best things you can ever do for yourself.
Let me set the scene: I had just said goodbye to my family. I pretended that I wasn’t nervous at all. I am sure they saw through it, but for the sake of all of us they pretended like they didn’t notice.
Everything that people had said to me about my trip was running through my brain. “I would never do a trip like that.” “Don’t get taken.” “Aren’t you scared?” “Won’t you be lonely?” Needless to say, I started freaking out.
At the gate next to mine there was another flight boarding. It’s destination: Fort Worth, Texas. My home. My friends. My comfort zone.
It took every ounce of strength in my body to not change my flight and head to Texas, but somehow I managed to get on the plane to Iceland.
To this day I am not entirely sure how I convinced myself to put one foot in front of the other to board the plane but after I sat down, the flight attendant secured the plane for take off…and there was no turning back.
And I thank God every day for giving me the strength to get on that plane and go, because it has been the best thing I have ever done for myself.
I told people before I left that I would either “get through it or not.” Most the time this comment was met with a look that can only be described as a mix of worry, disgust, chagrin and concern. I know people were just nervous, but I didn’t mean it in a “live or die” kind of way. And to this day, I stand by what I said.
There have been moments on this trip that haven’t gone right. There have been times when breaking down seemed like a good option, but I either had to deal with the obstacles in front of me; I was going to have to “get through it”, or I just wouldn’t. Those were the only two options, so I pulled my big girl pants on and got through those moments.
But the rest of the time, not having anyone else to turn to or even a smartphone- having no crutch at all – it was exactly what I needed as a new graduate who wasn’t exactly sure where life was going to lead me or what path I would take.
I wrote a blog post a few months back that said something a long the lines of, “Every story has a prologue before the beginning. I am starting to think this is my prologue…Blah blah blah… The world has been there from the beginning, she is my oldest friend, and once I get better acquainted with her maybe then my story will truly begin.”
Well, for once I was right. I have experienced so much in so little time. I have had an adventure of a lifetime.
I slept in an airport. I roomed with a Syrian refugee. I stayed in the Red Light District. I saw the Alps. I got yelled at for being on the internet by an old man living in a hostel. I ate everything. I went clubbing in Istanbul and to mosques the next day. I took siestas and ate tapas. I visited a concentration camp. I learned new words and phrases. I saw originals of Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and Remembrandt. I saw the works of Gaudi. I watched flamenco. I climbed mountains and went to the beach. I drank in a beer hall. I lost money playing poker. I watched fireworks over the Colosseum. I went to monuments, statues, castles, palaces, cathedrals, basilicas and parliament buildings. I experienced history.
But more than anything else that I did: I met people. From everywhere. And they changed my life.
Ya, I have had some really crazy encounters. Sure, I haven’t always been able to easily communicate with everyone. Absolutely, I made some new friends.
But mostly, I learned so much from everyone I met. I learned about their lives, their customs, their culture. I was reminded by how similar we all really are. I was inspired by people who are living their dreams. And from them, I learned who I am and who I want to be. The world is out there and I will never stop exploring it or meeting the people from around it.
That all being said (and I know you are tired of reading by now) I never would have gotten to live out my dreams without three very important people in my life.
I wouldn’t have had the chance to travel the world without my family’s love and support. I know when my family sees this they will say that this trip was on my own dime and that I made my own dreams come true. But the truth is, I wouldn’t be anywhere without my mom, dad and brother and I can’t thank them enough for everything they do for me everyday…. even when I am miles from home.
They have always believed in me even when I didn’t. They have given me every opportunity and have shown me what things are really important in this life. There are a lot of families who wouldn’t have encouraged or supported my decision to run off to Europe and away from the real world – but mine did. They are the only reason I am where I am. They mean the whole world to me and more. So this one is for them:
Well, that is all I have for now. Thank you for reading and keeping up with me throughout my travels.
Until next time,