Cobblestone Travels: Embracing Freedom

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.

Tell me, what makes you feel free?

6 thoughts on “Cobblestone Travels: Embracing Freedom

  1. I’m doing my first solo 3 week trip in April to the UK and Amsterdam, I cannot wait! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for such a long time, I think up until now I was creating reasons why I couldn’t just go on my own, and to make it happen gives me that sense of freedom. I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone, learning more about myself and the world, and just experiencing some adventure.

    1. That is so cool! I hope you have a great time! I hope to be able to visit England, New Zealand, and Italy before I’m 30. (I like to put a time stamp on things, just to shoot for them–if I don’t manage it before I’m 50 that’s fine!)

      Have a GREAT adventure!!

  2. I’ve never done random travels like this, but have always wanted to. I think I’m too much of a ‘planner’, and like to know where I’m going and when I’ll be there. And how much $ I have to take.
    What makes me feel free? Riding my horse on a random path through the high rocky desert. Reading a book that takes me somewhere else. Knitting an animal toy that develops a character as she grows on the knitting needles. Loving my family.
    I do love the word cobblestone – I grew up in an area that had cobblestone streets. So it brings me back to my childhood, and Chestnut Hill. :)

  3. What a lovely word for 2013 – and the spirit behind it. It sounds like an amazing trip – I’ve often wanted to solo travel like that, but after getting married, I put those ideas to rest. Perhaps I should reawaken them? One of the times I remember feeling most free was on a retreat at Kripalu yoga center. I was alone for four days (well, alone with all the other people there, but no one I knew), and I had no responsibilities. I just focused on what I wanted to do each day. It was amazing.

  4. Walking under a sunny sky, with the wide world around me, traversed with every repeating step. That makes me feel free. And dreaming. Dreaming has no bounds.
    Hopefully in the near future I will have opportunities to travel, and I’m sure my feeling of freedom will expand with all the new places and people I meet!

    “Lift your face to the sky and close your eyes, and your spirit will feel no bounds.”

  5. You made me smile as I read your descripton of being intoxiated by your surroundings and coming home the true version of yourself! I can relate! Here’s to travel! :)

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