In my experience (short, as it may be), I’ve observed a trend in the way things tend to occur. It seems that the best things in life have a way of sneaking up on you on some regular Wednesday afternoon with little to no warning.
About a month ago, my parents asked me and my brothers how we felt about a family getaway. Much to my surprise (and delight), the itinerary they had in mind didn’t include an all-you-can-eat buffet on a cruise or another visit to everyone’s favorite mouse. Instead, the plan was to visit Big Ben, Mona Lisa and that country their daughter is absurdly in love with.
And so commenced our impromptu 12 day euro-trip across London, Paris and Rome.
Now, this website is called International Student and although I didn’t enroll in any classes during my stay, I think it’s necessary to mention just how educational these trips can be (and I don’t mean renting the audio guide at the Louvre Museum). In fact, sometimes you learn more from the English guy that sits next to you on the 45 minute tube ride to Buckingham Palace than you would from sitting in any classroom. Or from the late-night trip to the hotel lobby for the free-wifi only to engage in a side conversation with a woman on business from Nice, who tells you about the growing immigration problems the French are facing. Oh, and where you can do the best shopping in town (hey, we’re well-rounded)! Or from spending 15 hours on an overnight train to Rome stuck sleeping in the same room as an elderly Italian couple (yes, it was every bit as cute as it sounds) and telling them about your plans to live in Perugia this summer. Ahh, brava! Or from the too-close-for-comfort encounter with a pick pocket-er in a Paris metro who was this close to snatching your bag.
I guess I should also mention that this trip coincided with my 21st birthday, which just so happened to coincide with the Italy segment of the trip. Which means that by some sort of universal divine intervention and cosmic aligning, I said hello (or should I say ciao?) to another year of my life having quite possibly the most delicious dinner, with the most incredibly amazing family I could ask for, drinking the most exquisite bottle(s) of vino bianco, in one the most beautiful cities in the world. My old childhood friend Cristina told me that if I ever find myself at 40, having a mid-life crisis, she hopes I can look back at this time in my life and realize just how wonderful life can be.
Traveling has a way of waking you up inside, shaking up those parts of you that become idle when you stay in one place for too long. It helps you discover aspects of your very being that want, desperately, to be explored. All you need is an open heart and an open mind.
*Summer update: FLIGHT HAS BEEN BOOKED. 82 days left! But who’s counting?