One year ago almost to the day I conceptualized
the idea for my first Europe
trip that I took last summer.
Now here I am a year later
planning anew trip, a bigger
goal, and dreaming again.
The biggest difference
between then and now though is me.
Today I was cleaning out my closet and found my back pack that I took to Europe with me. Inside was my journal and some maps and odds and ends from last summers adventure. I started flipping through the journal that I filled up 60 pages of and was amazed by some of the stuff I found, and quite frankly just didn’t remember.
The things that stuck out to me most though were bits and pieces from different times and places where you could see self growth on the page and see what I was going through on the trip. Now that some time has past and I’ve grown a bit more and with a new journey awaiting I’m better able to pick out that growth.
So here are some passages from my Euro trip 2013 journal, I’ll see if I can’t show some of that growth and change and just show how truly important travel is for ones soul and self growth as a person…
“… Also I think I’m getting better at conversation and meeting people. At least I feel better about it now. But that’s one of the coolest parts of traveling is just the meeting of new people and getting to take away from them new bits of culture and knowledge that you’d otherwise never have gotten. It’s just small stuff, but it all helps you grow and flesh out your view of the world, which is very cool and one of the reasons why I’m doing this. Can’t wait to see what else I pull from this trip. Hope I continue to thrive and do well…”
This was pretty cool to read because before going on this trip one of my biggest insecurities was my social skills. I guess it still kind of is to this day. I’ve just never though I was very personable or good at talking to people. I remember one of my biggest fears about going over to Europe in the first place was that I’d be terribly lonely and not meet anyone. I thought I wouldn’t be able to break out of my bubble or anything. Needless to say I ended up being wrong about that and became great with people. This is where that begun though.
Wonderful night in Paris
6-1-2013 Eclipse Center
“…Oh one last though. Today was the first pangs of homesickness I’ve felt. I’m not sure if I can do this all for two more months, that seems like an awfully long time. Not going to dwell much on it yet though. But anyways just a thought, Night.”
This just stuck out to me because it’s crazy how things like homesickness can just creep up on you. Even while there should be no reason to feel those kind of things while traveling because of all the excitement and new stuff going on, but it still can. That’s only normal as well. I’m just glad I stuck around for the rest of the two months and didn’t go home for it would have become the biggest regret of my life.
8-7-20013 Heathrow Airport London, last entry.
“So I’m finally at the end of my journey. After almost three months, a load of places, a ton of adventures, and meeting many new friends I’ve finally reached the end. What a journey it’s been as well! Honestly though I had a really hard time wrapping my head around the end of this journey. I’ve just been here for so long, and Ireland became such a second home for me and a comfortable place that home just seemed so far off. But it came so quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited and wanting to go home, it’s just weird. This summer has just flown by. And here at the end of it all I wonder a few things.
1. If I’ve changes as a person or learned anything from all of this.
2. If my journey was everything I’d hoped it would be.
3. What will it be like going home to America and to normal life? Also I can’t help but wonder if and when I’ll be back over seas.”
…But if this trip has left me with anything it’s that I’m really an ok guy, I think my self-confidence and knowing who I am is much higher and secure now. I’ve shown myself and seen that I do get on really well with people and they seem to generally like me. On top of that I’ve just done this whole journey completely on my own, both planning and payment wise, and that’s huge to me, because throughout that all I’ve proven to myself that I can handle my shit and take care of myself and get places and not need others. Not saying I don’t want others or anything, but I just know I’m capable now.
… It’s strange though because as I write this I’m wrapping up one of the biggest moment, and adventures of my life to date. One which I’ll look back on and tell people about for the rest of my life. A journey that’s helped shape who I am and touched me. And here I am at the end of it, and soon it’ll seem like a distant memory and be just like one giant dream. I just wish more people could do this sort of thing though for it’s such a huge deal.
… So anyways what now with me? I’m honestly not sure. College next, pursue my degree again this year, live large, laugh hard, love my friends. As for this little book? I think I’ll continue to write in it occasionally. I think I’ll look back on this thing years from now, when it’s full from back to from and look fondly upon it. And get to remember how silly and stupid I am, or was or whatever.
…So to future self. I hope all goes well, I hope all our dreams worked out and where ever we ended up at the end of our journey that it was good. I hope all the hopes and fears we experienced about our future paid off, and most importantly that you stayed true to us! I wouldn’t want to hate you after all. But I love you future me, and well done.
…I’m so so happy and blessed that I made this decision though. Europe was one of the best choices of my life and an experience that I shall never forget, and the one even in my life next to college that I’ve grown the most from and truly experienced self discovery. I shall miss this place, but I will be back. So until next time Europe. Take care.
Euro Trip 2013
May 18- August 7th”
Seeing Big Ben for the first time.
This last passage is my favorite because the growth is the most apparent here, it’s almost like two different people writing. To answer those three questions though looking back now.
1. Yes, I definitely changed as a person and learned so much from the trip. Probably the biggest change was me becoming more self-confident , and believing in myself more. It felt, and still feels so good to have accomplished that trip. To have thought up the idea myself and seen it through to completion with no help from anyone. For the first time in my life I knew I was capable of being independent and a grown up.
2. The journey ended up being so much more than everything I’d hoped for. I made new best friends, gained a second family, discovered more about myself and grew. I got to experience new cultures and new views of life that no college course could have taught me. And everyday was a new adventure and a new experience unlike anything I could have planned or hoped for.
3. Going back home honestly kind of sucked. Because after having grown and done all these things going home was almost like hopping into a time machine and going back in time to the day I had left. It was like I was picking up my normal life again and just moving on like nothing had happened. It was terribly strange at first. But now I’ve fallen back into the grind, but am so so ready to get back to Europe again.
One of my biggest dilemma was how to explain such a huge experience to people. Sure it’s easy to tell people about how you saw Big Ben, or how crazy the metro could be, but travel isn’t made up of those moments. It’s not made up of the monuments that stand tall and proud, or the melodies you may hear on a street corner. It’s made up of the little stuff, that when you break it down and tell about it may seems insignificant, but when put it together builds this beautiful mosaic that becomes your trip.
I’ll leave you with this. A journal entry from the new journal I’ve begun for this summer for the Round Ireland Swim. I think it helps sum up the growth and how far I’ve come from doubting myself and what I’m capable of. Check it…
“…Throughout my life I’ve been watching others chase dreams and whims and I never thought it possible for me, because who am I? I’ll tell you who I am though, at least from this moment on. I’m strong, persistent, hard working, creative, smart, capable, and willing. If those aren’t the ingredients for success then I’m not sure what is.”
So that’s what travel has done for me. What has it done for you?