Backpacking through Europe:
I will be chronicling my trip through the writings I scribbled down in my journal. I hope to be completely honest in my experiences- good and bad. I do not claim to be a history buff nor a well seasoned traveler- so I understand if one may have very differing views of areas I will be writing about, but this is my personal experience as I saw, smelt, touched and ate my way through 4 countries.
The novice with a notebook and a backpack.
Where she has 8 clean pair of underwear and an open mind.
November 21, 2013//8pm American Time
Sitting in the airport about to leave. We will be flying to London for a 40 minute layover. I wish that we were staying long enough to see it. It’s my first time flying on British Airways, and I feel like a “real” traveler already. Everyone around me has different accents that tell of their journeys that they have weathered- the ones that I am about to experience for myself. Going on my first back packing trip is like crossing over into a new world- one where travelers speak their own language of passion and intrigue- and me and my 45 gallon pack are suddenly allowed to sit at the table and listen.
I am entering this trip hoping to truly move something inside of me. I am honestly quite frightened. Not for my safety or health- but of the unknown. I am scared I am going to be severed from the possession and places that define me- and when those things are gone I will find something within myself that scares me. Like that I was naive to believe that I could really travel 3 weeks on 2 measly outfits and some travel toothpaste. That my idea of traveling was but a fool’s paradise that will melt into a big ugly puddle of disillusion in front of me. (I can be quite melodramatic when left alone with a pen, can’t I?)
Last night I journaled a small prayer:
“Lord, please keep my heart and my mind wide open. Show me a part of myself and a part of you that I must fight for. Help me find a deeper connection to the world, to develop relationships that enrich, to be blessed by strangers, and see the world with childlike curiosity.
I want to let go of my need for control that as kept me from loving others over being comfortable. I want to embrace my individualism outside of vanity. I want to soak in my surroundings to my very core- learning more than what is simply given to me. Please help me eat up every little bite of beauty and let it pour out of my work and my life in a way that changes the world around me and brings glory to your name. I want to learn who I am without the comforts of home or the material possessions that I believe to define me or others. Give me the strength to be authentic and full of beauty the world lends to me for the next 3 weeks. Amen.”
November 22, 2013// 1:30am Rome Time
I need to sleep, but I wanted to write a few things down about the day.
We flew around 15 hours and finally arrived in Rome around 8pm. It’s a 9 hour difference between here and the states. We took a train to the home we will be staying in for the next 2 nights. We found most of the places we will be staying through Air B&B, and tonight we are sharing a small apartment with a woman named Angiola, a writer in her late 50s. She came and picked us up at the station- which we were extremely grateful for because we were worried about being able to find her place in the dark. Once we arrived at her apartment, small but full of old charm- white washed with creaky wood floors and high crowned walls, she poured us a glass of wine and patiently helped us figure out how to get to the colosseum. We met her brother who currently lives with her. He introduced himself as Michelangelo, followed by the only english he knew: “like the painter!” in a giddy Italian lilt. We wasted no time getting back out to explore, even though it was dark, cold and raining (a temperament that would follow us around for most of our time in Rome).
Google has ruined the magic of the great wonders of the world. Before the all mighty internet, one would have to actually TRAVEL the world to see something like the colosseum. And I stood in front of it sadly realizing that the pictures on Pintrest that I looked up a few days before were alot better looking than the real thing. (Note from future self: Rome wasn’t my favorite. And before you get worried that I’m going to rant on google being better than one of the most important historical sites in the world, I won’t. Until we get to Paris.)
We got some pizza at a small cafe. We learned very quickly that there is no such thing as free water here. If you want water, it will be bottled and almost as expensive as your entire meal. So you might as well have a beer.
Walk through this world of tiny cars, ornate buildings and gelato- wondering how we could really actually be here. Right now. Starting our journey.
When we get back to the apartment, we realize we can’t figure out how to use the Italian keys. We end up waking up Angiola with our loud attempts of entering past midnight. She graciously assured us that she was “up writing”, but I saw her robe and disheveled hair and tip toed around the house to keep from any further disturbances.
Clint excitedly told me there was a urinal in the bathroom, along with the toilet. (This “urinal” turned out to be a beday. But I’m pretty sure he still peed it for the remainder of our visit.)
More to talk about later, but it’s 1:30am and I haven’t slept for 2 days.