Well, I’m back. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to collect my thoughts and feelings and transpose them into a thought-provoking blog post, but here I am, and here we are.
What a whirlwind it’s been. Six counties, 21 days, 43 new friends and a lifetime of memories. Not bad for a study abroad trip.
Since my last post, I visited Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava. I could write a post for each city and how wonderful it was, but I’ll spare you my obsession with these amazing and beautiful places. What I can say is how enriching and incredible this experience has been. In my conversations with friends since my return, I’ve found that it’s impossible to pinpoint my favorite part of the trip. Granted, reuniting with my brother who lives in Norway was definitely the best moment, every day provided new adventures that are impossible to compare.
I know I have a bad case of wanderlust. It’s been evident since I first took off on this program as an undergraduate. The trip this time not only reinforced my wanderlust, but made it ten times worse. I need to see more. I have more questions that need answers. I have a lifetime to fill with stories akin to getting lost in Vienna, solo-wandering through the sleepy streets of Bratislava and climbing to the top of a viewpoint in sandals after dark in Budapest.
Every now and then I would have to stop and attempt to take in what was happening. Was I really fortunate enough to be able to visit these incredible, historic cities? Was I privileged enough to speak with survivors of Communist and Fascist rule? Did I really get to eat gelato almost every single day for breakfast? Sometimes it didn’t feel real, but the pictures and memories prove otherwise.
My advice for whoever is reading these blog posts is this: go explore. Life is too short to be complacent. There is so much out there to see, and although you can’t see everything, go see something. Get lost. Embrace the jet lag. Wear your jeans past their washing point. Rest your head on that uncomfortable train seat. Attempt to talk with a local in their native tongue. Spend the money you may not have. Go travel. It’s a big world out there, and it’s worth exploring.
They say that the best stories are told between pages of a passport—and they aren’t lying.