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Lessons Learned

Location: Austin, TX, USA

Wow, adjustments are crazy, to say the least. I said I would take some time to do a wrap up of the Eurotrip... a series of lessons learned plus some sharing from my personal journal I carried with me while I was there. This post is officially dedicated to Jonathan Locklin (the king of lessons learned). So... here you go :)

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compaire to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (the quote Jen wrote on the inside cover of my beautiful leather carpe diem journal that never left my side while I was traveling).

Things I have realized:

  • 2.5 months is a REALLY long time (12/17)
  • Even though I feel like I have planned this trip perfectly, I am going to get lost, I am going to miss a plane/train/bus at some point.
  • I am all alone.... literally.... alone
  • Pictures will never by able to capture what my eyes are seeing; goes back to the whole idea of taking pictures with your eyes. "Today I finally overcame, trying to fit the world inside a picture frame, maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to lose my way with words." - John Mayer
  • It gets really dark REALLY freaking early up here!! (duh abbey... it's called latitude)
  • The upper deck on busses and trains (and I bet planes too!! note to self - ride on a double decker plane on the top deck) are WAY better
  • Free bathrooms were a really nice thing to have...
  • One good thing about looking like a homeless person is that real homeless people don't bother you for change (12/18)
  • Keeping busy wards off loneliness (12/19)
  • I am moving to Ireland
  • I am an artist
  • Traveling in large groups on trains during the holidays is a BAD idea (12/23)
  • Do NOT ask a foreign taxi driver if 15Euro is enough to get your to your hotel, because that's exactly how much it will cost you when you get there... even if it is only 3 blocks away (12/27)
  • Always know how to get to your hostel from the train station before you get there
  • Prayers of thanks are my favorite. They make me realize how much I really do have to be thankful for (12/29)
  • Everything looks more beautiful when the sun is below 30degrees on the horizon; especially in the morning (and especially in Ireland) (1/2)
  • Before coming back to a country, I should try to learn the language
  • I know WAY more Spanish than I thought I did!! (1/3)
  • Africa is scary... WAY scary (1/14)
  • The stamp in my passport to Tangier was totally worth the scariness and the 50euro
  • I am so lucky to be American
  • Hot chocolate is amazing
  • Beginners luck does run out eventually (1/15)
  • I should always be nice to people who don't speak English and at least try and smile
  • I love Ireland... (1/16)
  • No matter how much I want it to, no person will ever be able to make me feel the way that music does (1/19)
  • I thought that after being in Europe for a month I would learn to be more independent, but I still haven't managed to figure out how (1/24)
  • Everything is more fun w/ masks on (1/26)
  • The sun shines differently in Italy
  • I love Italy
  • Just because Swiss guards with machine guns board your train car and demand your passport, does not necessarily mean you are in trouble (1/28)
  • Not everyone wants something from you (2/1)
  • I am never really alone
  • Nature is amazing
  • Passing judgement is usually pointless, sometimes harmless but always thoughtless
My final "Thing's I've realized" is that "I believe I am addicted to travel." Well, great. One more thing to add to the list of things I like :)

Life Lessons Learned from "Eat Pray Love"
So... Right before I left, Natalie gave me the book "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm telling you, this book was 90% of the reason I got through the first week. She is an incredible writer and I am forever grateful for her solid advice and incredible personal insight.

  • "I was speaking to the creator of the universe as though we'd just been introduced at a cocktail party. But we work with what we know in this life and these are the words I always use at the beginning of a relationship. In fact, it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work'"
  • "I am the planet's most affectionate life form (something like a cross between a golden retreiver and a barnacle"
  • It's ok to ask for things when you pray... Petition the universe
  • "I'm bad (or rather, lazy) at researching a place before I travel, tending just to show up and see what happens. When you travel this way, what typically happens is that you spend a lot of time standing in the middle of the train station feeling confused." Oh man... so true.
  • "Dio i l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle"
  • "That's the thing about human life - there's no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if nay variables had been changed."
  • I wrote in my journal, "I need to start talking to myself on paper" - to which I wrote in reply to myself... "who are you telling that?" Haha...
  • "We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege."
  • "When he's really tired, he'll sigh and say, "Maybe 85 today," but when he's feeling more upbeat he'll say, "I think I'm 60 today!" Perhaps this is as good a way of estimating age as any - how old do you feel? What else matters, really?" - I'm 22... no really... I am
  • "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it."
Things that made me happy today
This was my favorite part of my journal to fill out every day.

Hitting my internal snooze button at 7 AM -- The ocean -- That zebra rock on the beach -- Not carrying my backpack -- Gaelic -- Hanoverians -- Ok fine, all horses -- Freedom -- Silence -- the beauty of what I do not know -- Something as old as golf was born somewhere; it began -- Nerdy boys -- Large scale French paintings -- Music -- Children who speak French -- having an entire train compartment to myself -- Cute English couples -- Sun rises -- Cold sheets -- Crepes -- Ok... desert in general -- naps -- English -- Water -- Africa -- Ponies -- Soraya -- kisses -- Warm showers -- Orange trees -- The windmill on the hill -- galloping, like REALLY galloping -- the beach -- Spanish techno -- wobbly chocolates -- Tuna sandwiches -- my boots -- safety -- Toilet paper -- Religious freedom -- the medeterranean Sea -- Looking at Europe from Africa -- Hibiscus Mint Tea -- Sunrises -- Cafe con leche in a MUG -- Irish accents -- Chinese food -- My cell phone -- bars that stay open until 6 AM -- Old friends -- Being 22 -- Being ALIVE! -- Soccer in the street -- Olives -- Tuscany -- A 4Euro bottle of AMAZING wine -- Gelato -- Being on top of the world -- Dates (and the free meals that accompany them :) -- Parlo inglese? Haha yes, actually I that's all I parlo :) -- Bologna -- the alps -- good friends -- being liked -- the sun -- being on a runway (outside the plane) -- Snow -- The grand canyon -- Free drinks on a plane (a luxury around these parts) -- individual beer taps -- kafers and mackers (FULLER!) -- Safety -- Nutella -- Making smart decisions when inebriated -- my faith (it pretty much rocks - "I'm so jealous, I wish I had that!" -Barry) -- Saying "See you later!" -- Carpe diem -- History -- the trevi fountain at 4 AM -- Moving on -- Mt. Freaking Vesuvius!! -- People who form their own opinions -- the pope -- Sunny days -- Red gatorade -- My friends back home -- John Paul II -- Egyptians -- Preservation of History -- Dates -- Great Italian Food -- Moving to Rome -- Italian kisses -- Staying up all night

I think that's enough for now... I'll possibly post more thoughts as they come to me. For now though, I would like to announce that due to popular demand, I will NOT be stopping my travel, or my blog! I'm not sure it's going to be quite as exotic as Europe, but I will post everytime I take a new trip around these parts. So, get ready!!


Now playing: Nick Drake - One Of These Things First
via FoxyTunes

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