I’ve been home from my whirlwind of an adventure for a little over a week, and I’m still walking around intoxicated by what surrounds me and trying to be sure to take it all in. I needed that trip more than I had known, and it has reeled me back in to the true version of myself — the happy content girl that lives within me, that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. But she’s back, and plans to take 2013 by storm!
So where in the world did I go? I started in Amsterdam, wandered over to Brussels, spent Christmas in Lille, went to Luxembourg, got to my last stop in Cologne, where plans changed and I ended up also going to Frankfurt and Heidelberg, before making it back to Amsterdam to fly home.
It was a quick sixteen days, but it’s not so much about the places I went, but the people and interactions I had while there.
In Brussels, I spent the end of the world with an Australian girl who had been traveling for 20 months. When she got low on money she worked at a pub in London, took care of dogs in Austria, gardened in Ireland, or worked at a hostel in Spain. She was full of stories and spirit, and I feel so very fortunate that our paths crossed and I got to wander around Brussels with her for a day.
When I arrived at my hostel in Cologne, I met a group of people that I spent the evening with and who were continuing on to Frankfurt and Heidelberg. They had originally had eight people in their group, but one had dropped out last minute, so they suggested I tag along. Now, typically I’m a planner, but sometimes I like to just wing it. So I decided to fly by the seat of my pants, and hopped trains with these strangers, and had this three day whirlwind romance with a boy I’m probably not going to forget any time soon.
I had decided before I left for this trip that I needed a word for 2013, something to serve as a reminder throughout the year. So as I traveled I kept this in mind, trying to think of a word that seemed to fit. And one day as I was walking down the street, looking down at the cobblestone beneath my feet, I realized cobblestone was my word. I have always loved cobblestone streets, how they’re uneven and imperfect in various places and how that makes them all the more perfect.
This whole trip reminded me of how happy the little things make me, reminded me of what really matters, and how I need to embrace what makes me happy.
Cobblestone. It will remind me to be open to opportunity, and let my path lead me where it may.
It will remind me that things are what I make them, so even though I’m home and back to day to day life, it will remind me that I can create adventure at home as well.
If you have ever thought about doing solo travel, or if it has never even crossed your mind, I urge you to just consider it. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but the opportunity for growth and discovery that it allows is incredible. Some days are quieter than others, some days you’ve made friends you spend the day with, but you get to shape each day and it makes you just feel so free.