This incredible journey is unfortunately coming to a close. As silly as it sounds, this has changed my life and I can’t even say how glad I am I did this. If you’re reading this and you haven’t travelled, you must. And you must leave the US. You can’t say how other people in the world live until you go there and see it for yourself. Get outside your comfort zone. Communicate with people that don’t speak English. Eat their food. Discover the wonders of public transportation and being able to go to another country in just a couple of hours. Stay in enough hostels that you forget about having your own bedroom and bathroom at home. Get used to a very different currency. Realize how young the US is compared to these other countries. Learn that prejudices are simply not true. Let someone talk about their prejudices about Americans without getting offended. Prove them wrong. Stay up late and wake up early. Engage in local traditions. Drink a lot of beer. Start thinking about other parts of the world you’d like to see in the future. Most of all, realize that by staying in the US, you have seen NOTHING.
As awesome as this has been, there are some things I would have done differently. I would have cooked most of the time to save money, then splurged on a fantastic local meal every couple of days. We missed going to Scotland because we tried to book a flight too late. Next time, I would go to Scotland/Ireland first, and end on the warmer countries on the continent. I will look into couch surfing as a way to meet more locals and cut down the price of the trip. I would bring different clothes- Europeans don’t wear t-shirts and you will feel extremely out of place if you do. I bought several things while here to feel more comfortable. I would try to find concerts and festivals beforehand and plan my route based on that. Actually, I wouldn’t waste my time planning a route. Rather, just come up with places I’d like to go and the dates of big events and attempt to make them. I would go on side trips with other travelers if they invited me. I would be better about getting the contact information of all the people I meet. Being able to call and text would be handy, not necessarily to communicate with people back home, but to more easily meet back up with the friends we’ve made here. I would stay longer. I would bring a better camera. I wouldn’t do a single pub crawl. I would have gone swimming.
I’m really sad to be leaving tomorrow. I don’t want to turn the service back on my phone or have responsibilities again. I miss my friends, family, and dog, but I’d rather you all just be in Europe with me. It’s an amazing place and I could see myself living in many of the cities we visited. There is just something so appealing about drinking in public being legal and high fructose corn syrup being illegal.
I have run out of things to ramble on about, which is unfortunate since we have a full day of travelling to get through. I don’t want to go home, but I’m looking forward to seeing all of you again and telling many, many stories. And also snuggling with my dog. I have had nights where I have stayed up crying because I missed that giant ball of fur. I really hope my mom gives him a bath before he tackles me when I arrive (PLEASE). I was thinking of all of the people back home I would like to travel with, so let’s start making those plans!