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To be honest I’ve never thought of myself as a dreamer or anyone particularly adventurous. If you had to pick one adjective to describe me I would normally say shy or weird depending on where we are. I feel like my life ran a normal path with high school leading to college and with the idea that college would lead to a job, a house and a family. I am not saying that my family forced this on me or that it was expected but to me, this is what people did based on the context of my life. I graduated from high school, shy as shit around most people and ridiculously random among the people I knew closely, and was ready to head off to college as a marine biology major. AND THEN I WENT TO EUROPE.
Suddenly my life changed. I was seventeen, just out of high school and bloody clueless. I went with my godmothers and they educated me in many things especially how to order a martini and how wonderful other countries could be. I had always been interested in other countries’ history but for this first time I experienced world history for myself. Being a closeted mega nerd, this was a big deal for me. We visited Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Sicily just in Italy and I loved learning all about the history and all the dirty historical secrets that went along with these towns.
But in addition to all the history I learned a little bit about myself. I realized that the world isn’t small, it can’t be defined in cliche phrases and while ignorance is bliss, it can’t last. The world is out there for exploring and some of us are called to see it.
It may seem crazy to that we have left our jobs and more importantly our home to some but the more time we spent thinking about it we just needed to do it. For me it was never a dream of whether or not we would go on this trip but rather the inevitable. People thought I was brave for moving to Rome (thank you, seriously) but for me I just had to.
This trip is exactly the same. When Alex and I first started talking about this trip my imagination ran wild and, to be fair, it is not totally back. And now we are in Barcelona. It is all coming back to me, this trip is no different than when I moved to Rome. I’ve traveled before and all the nerves and anxiety goes away once you have started. It seems natural now; why wouldn’t I travel the world?
Even though over 70 days of this trip have gone by it is hard to get a grip on the scale of what we plan on doing and what we want to accomplish but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am excited about this trip but honestly it hasn’t hit me how much it is going to change my life. This is just something that I have to do. It is not that I don’t love Healdsburg and the life we had there but a part of me would always wonder; wonder what we would have seen and wondered who I would have become.
There is something about travel that makes me feel alive and it makes me feel like I belong in this crazy, immense world. Connecting with people whom I would never have met if I stayed home makes it all worth it. Seeing ancient buildings and seeing how people live, past and present, are why I am on this trip. Viewing art from all over the world, from street artists to classical museums, helps me see their corner of the world as they do. Sitting down at a table with people from all over and eating their food (well almost all the food) makes you realize that people are the same. We all want the same things in life: to be healthy, to not be alone, to have food on the table and to be happy. This is why I don’t see myself as brave as we take off to travel the world. It is something I have to do because we need to.
This trip is not a vacation for us. This trip is a learning experience. It is for us to learn who we truly are, where we belong in this world but more importantly to learn about everyone else. We may be similar but that doesn’t mean we do not have our differences. More and more today, it feels like we are being divided and classified as people, which is fine but it seems like we are losing our understanding of others.
So here we are, 70 days out and trying to understand the world, however this isn’t easy. So instead we must take it one day at a time. Perhaps this is why we haven’t felt the crazy excitement of what we are doing. To think about the trip as a whole is simply overwhelming! Instead I think about it in destinations, in cities, in visiting friends. Of course we are excited to be doing what we are doing but we are just taking it one day at a time.
70 days in and we have seen 17 states, Iceland, a very small portion of the UK, Holland, Belgium, Paris and now Barcelona. It does not seem like a lot when you look at a map but the world is big and that is why we are taking six years to see it. You can’t hope to understand people if you don’t have any time to spend with them and you can’t learn things about yourself if you can’t sit down and reflect on them.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned on this trip so far is that my time is finally my own. Yes, I need to work some but for the most part I have all the time in the world. For me this is a chance to expand and better myself not only through travel but also through my hobbies, educating myself (love my history podcasts!), and taking care of my body (yay running….) and also to interact more with people. I am naturally a shy person but I can’t learn about the world if I do not talk to people!
It is hard to sum up what these past 70 days of travel mean to me. It hasn’t really hit us that this is our life for the next couple of years and perhaps it never will. All I know is that these have been some of the most fulfilling 70 days of my life in a long time. I have pushed myself to do things that I wouldn’t normally do (aka snorkeling Silfra), I have eaten food I swore I never would try (fermented shark….It was not good…) and I have met some amazing people along the way. I can’t imagine how many other amazing experiences I will have over the next few years if I have already experienced so much in just 70 days!
So let’s just travel on and see where we end up next! I cannot wait for the next 70 days and the next six years of our lives! And if you haven’t already check out Alex’s thoughts on 70 days of travel. You might be surprised!