A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I boarded a one way flight and began my adventure around the world (if we’re being technical it was a year 4 days ago, but let’s pretend I have my shit together). I had no real plan, just a purpose to experience something I hadn’t before, to see things I’d only read about and to feel happy again.

I’ve relearned the quirks of Germans,
Visited the town where my sister went to high school in Denmark,
Saw black sand beaches for the first time in Lanzarote,
Been to 41 Cities (7 of which I revisited),
Finally figured out the underground in Berlin,
But not without losing a glove along the way.

I locked myself out on a balcony during the winter sans a coat in Copenhagen,
And on the way to Hamburg I saved a kid who hadn’t made it to the bus from the ferry because he’d fallen asleep.

I discovered that if all goes to shit I can always move into a free cave in Granada,
Bitten off more than I could chew in Sevilla,
Gotten stranded in the middle of no-where Portugal,
Had two separate reunions in Amsterdam,
Stayed in the one and, thankfully, only truly scary hostel in Vienna,
But thankfully made it out in one piece.

I’ve spent the night in a camper van,
Learned, while I was in Venice, you always meet the most interesting people while staying in the cheapest places,
Flown on 31 planes, ridden 27 trains, 10 buses, 5 ferries and 1 moped.

Not only did I fulfill my life long dream of having my sister as my roommate, while in Florence, but I also found a passion in graphic design,
I snorkeled in the wonderfully warm Mediterranean,
Pet a moose on a moose farm,
And saw my first waterfall in Sweden.

I found myself completely out of my element in Thailand but loved it,
I’ll never forget the very first day being there, walking through this small town to the train station, people living in tin houses and stray dogs everywhere, but not feeling scared at all, because every person I crossed was either smiling or curiously friendly.

I realized what a small world it is when I met the same Frenchman from my hostel in Berlin and a girl I went to high school with on the same day in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

I hopped on a moving train only to sit on bags of wheat, which I then had to help throw out of that still moving train,
Barely survived my first stomach bug in Asia,
Losing 10 pounds in the process,
And spent my 25th birthday by the beach in Thailand,
Perhaps making the ill advised decision to jump into the water right by a sewage outlet.

I used one of those squat toilets for the first and last time at a Muay Thai match,
Been scammed by a magician in Bali, but despite that ended up having maybe one of the most fun nights out of my life.

I learned during one of those late night hostel hangouts that Tinder is a world wide phenomenon,
But boys don’t like it when you use them to learn English.

I experienced 4 cancellations or reroutings,
Spent over $200 in bank fees,
And met the most wonderful people in Kyoto who share my love for awkward and goofy photos.

I cried for two hours in the Kyoto train station partly because I didn’t think I had enough money to get back to Tokyo,
But mostly because I’d said goodbye to one too many people on this trip.

I dipped my feet in 3 different oceans/seas,
Experienced maybe the hottest day of my life visiting the temples in Siem Reap,
It took my clothes two days to dry.

I had my internet censored in the Shanghai airport,
Took a 17 hour train trip from northern Sweden down to Hamburg,
Was in Brussels during the terrorist attack,
And spent 3 days in the strangest hostel right outside Amsterdam,
Where I am pretty sure two of the people working there had branded themselves.

I still have change from 9 different countries in my wallet,
Was able to fit most of what I needed into a 36 liter bag,
Only had to pay one bribe,
And come a long way since the first day of my trip,
Where I spent most of my time at the airport, because I’d taken the wrong bag.

Despite this somewhat rocky start I’ve had such a wonderful and enriching experience. I’ve been places I’d never thought I would be and relished the freedom to make my own schedule, spending a day for myself and no one else. That’s not to say that I haven’t worried or cried or felt extremely lonely or isolated. But for every negative feeling there are countless wonderful memories.

Here’s to the next 365 days.

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