What is Traveling? If you think about it, there is no single definition for it. Obviously we have the formal dictionary definition, “going to different places instead of staying in one place,” but traveling is really only what one makes of it.
Traveling is not defined by the miles traveled, but by the memories made along the way.
As I write this blog on the back of my bus ticket, during my 14-hour bus ride from Barcelona to Paris, I realize traveling is much more than a simple hobby, but a way of life. Sure, I’ve traveled before during family vacations, but it’s nothing compared to what these past five months have taught me. You would think that after five months of constant traveling that I would be over it, but I feel as if this is only the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, a nice break would be nice because after weeks of sleeping in hostels and living out of a suitcase, I’m drained, but this study abroad experience has made me want to explore the world more than ever.
School was over May 29th and with no time to waste I started my summer travels at the beginning of June. First on the list was Marseille, France, since that was one of my top three study abroad choices when I was applying and wanted to see what it was all about. The old port and beaches were really nice, but I only had a half-day there so I was pretty bummed that I didn’t get to visit les calanques, which supposedly have a breathtaking view.
Staying on the French coast, I made my way up to Nice/Monaco (Monte Carlo). The French Riviera was absolutely gorgeous but a little different that what I expected. I guess I’m just used to the California sandy beaches and the pebbles/rocks along the water made it hard to walk along the coast. Monte Carlo, only a 10-minute train ride from Nice, was beautiful with all its fancy buildings, private yachts and cars, but all I could afford there was literally people-watching since everything was so expensive.
A quick train ride and I was in Italy on my way to one of the places I’ve always dreamed of going: Cinque Terre. I love outdoorsy stuff, so I was really excited for this trip since it would consist of hiking and swimming. Cinque Terre is made up of five cities along the Italian coast that you can either hike to or take trains to. With my luck, on one of the days, the train workers were on strike and the coastline hikes were closed, so I had to take the steeper back road hikes. It ended up working out though, since those tougher hikes had the best views of the cities. If you ever find yourself in Italy, you absolutely mustttt go there. It was hands down one of my favorite places in Italy.
One day stop in Rome and then I was headed to Athens. Walking along the Acropolis and gazing at the temples that were built thousands of years ago was just surreal. All I could think about was reading about those temples during my elementary school days – never ever would I have thought I would one day get the opportunity to visit it.
Last stop of part one of my euro trip and I found myself in one of the places on my bucket list, Santorini. This island is literally a heaven on earth; the sunsets and landscape are just unreal. From hiking an active volcano to swimming in hot springs to renting a quad, those three days made Santorini one of my favorite places so far. I know I probably say that about every city and country I visit, but I just fall in love with every new scenery.
Whether it’s sleeping outside airports, running after a train, falling during a hike in Cinque Terre, getting stung by jelly fish, having bread with jelly for dinner, or having your quad run out of gas in Santorini, these will all be memories I will never forget, and although traveling can be tough at times, it’s worth it.