As I’m sitting here in my somewhat lumpy bed, in my somewhat clean apartment with only a week left of still living here, I can’t help but think about everything Ive learned from this experience so far.
1. Get used to the crowds. Don’t complain about the crowds. You are still technically one of those people in the “crowd” to the people who actually live here are round. I am not used to crowds by any means. I have never lived in a big city and honestly the thought of so many people crowded around me at all times really irritates me. I have learned that I just need to take a breath and go with it. Im going to get bumped into, I’m going to get stepped on, and I’m going to smell someones body odor. Thats just the way life goes. In the grand scheme of things this is something very silly to get upset about, and it has made me realize that a lot of the things that I would normally get upset or annoyed with are petty and not worth the energy. Let it go.
2. Put the phone down. Wow. This one is a big one. I have been to many places now, Florence, Tuscany, Almafi Coast, Venice, Rome, Prague, Munich, Paris this weekend, and Austria and Switzerland in the next 2 weeks. What do all of these places have in common? Selfie sticks. Now ill admit, I did fall into the selfie stick trap and buy one my first week here. BUT I have used it far less than I thought I would. Why? Because as I got to each of these beautiful and breathtaking places, I look around and see people looking at these sights through their iPhone lens rather than through their own eyes. This has grown to infuriate me. Do you people even know what you’re taking a selfie with? Did you take a moment to truly appreciate where you are and the history behind it? Ive realized that my phone has become a huge black whole in my life back at home. I lose sight of whats around me and what I am doing because I’m focusing to hard on what everyone else is doing based on their social media posts. I have finally learned a major lesson- be where your feet are.
3. Drink water. Do you like to be hydrated? So do I! But it seems that here in Europe, hydration is no biggie. DRINK WATER ANYWHERE YOU CAN. Keep a bottle on you and if theres a sink, fill it up. Avoid it in restaurants, they generally charge more for water then they do for a coke. I am huge on hydration and taking my water drinking habits very seriously, so this has been an ongoing challenge. Never in my life did I think that I would miss free water the same amount that I miss my mom.
4. Always say yes. I don’t care what it is. If its a weekend trip that you really want to go on but not sure if you’ll be able to afford, GO and figure it out along the way. You don’t know what food is in that panini but it looks really good? Eat it anyways! I have watched a few people remain hesitant on this trip with these types of things. Why are you even here? Get out of your comfort zone and do what you normally wouldn’t do. When will you have a chance like this again?
5. Make new friends. Put yourself out there. Everyone is in the same boat. I am so lucky and thankful for the friendships I have already created during this trip. Traveling abroad has made me truly understand just how many wonderful and interesting people there are in this world. Talk to them. Get to know their story, you might learn something.
Until next time,