With my flight leaving in two days and my backpack packed, I am officially ready for this adventure!
It’s hard to pinpoint the beginning of a journey. Some might say the journey begins when you board a plane for a foreign land, but I have come to believe it begins the moment you decide to take the journey. Since the morning I bought my plane ticket to London several months ago, my life has changed. I’ve met countless allies and angels, sometimes complete strangers, who have given me words of wisdom, introduced me to contacts overseas, passed along maps and guide books, and given me the encouragement I needed in the moment to move forward with my plans. The universe truly does conspire to help get you where you want to go, once you are committed to going. For this knowledge, I am grateful.
I am filled with butterflies of excitement as I embark on a three-month journey backpacking across Europe. This trip is a longtime dream coming true and it feels like the biggest and best decision I’ve made yet!
To help prepare myself mentally, I’ve read inspiring books about women traveling alone, practiced new languages, researched the countries I will visit, created a deck of affirmation cards with positive reminders and talked to many friends and family members about my fears, hopes and excitement. I am so thankful for all the kind words, the reassurance and the genuine love I have received from my community. I feel strong, confident, and empowered thanks to your consistent support and encouragement! I will bring that positivity along with me and pass it on to those I meet!
Some people who I’ve talked about my trip with have said to me “I could never do that!” or “Wow, you are so much braver than me!” I want to take a moment to clear that up right now because it’s just not true. I firmly believe everyone has the power to change his/her life, bring a dream to fruition, or do something outside of the comfort zone. I am not a superwoman, nor am I fearless, I just heard the call of my soul and listened; I listened even though I was afraid to hear it, and even though I was afraid to carry out what it asked of me. But now that I am about to leave, after months of preparation and many moments of tearful anxiety, I feel a deep sense of calm. That’s the feeling of answering your call. It may not be easy to get there, but at some point, after lots of hard work and a willingness to look fear in the face, you will know when you are on the right path. It feels good. It feels freeing. It feels exhilarating.
You too can follow your heart! And trust me, the whole world benefits when you do, so GO FOR IT!!!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
Okay, back to the details of the journey ahead…here is a brief synopsis of my trip:
I arrive in London on July 23, Eurail train pass in hand, as I make my way North to Scotland. From there, I fly to Amsterdam and meet with a friend to road trip through Germany. Next, we’ll hop on the train and travel to Eastern Europe: Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia. After that, I’m on my own again and will take the train South to Italy, France and Spain and possibly Portugal, depending on time and funds. I plan to do a farm stay and/or work- exchange in Spain so I can get a real sense of the culture and practice my Spanish. I’m really excited about going blues dancing in Barcelona, and potentially in Berlin, Germany if time permits (there is a Blues Dance Fest there in mid-October). After the Mediterranean, I plan to visit my good friend from home in Brussels, Belgium where she will be starting graduate school this Fall. If you look at a map, I am practically making a circle as I work my way from West to East and then South to West and finally, North to Belgium and potentially Germany in Oct. for some blues dancing 🙂
I have not yet purchased a return ticket to the U.S. because I want to create an opening in my life for possibilities and opportunities. Of course, there are some restrictions due to visa rules, which permit U.S. citizens to travel for 90 days in the Schengen Countries within any 180-day period. With that being said, I will be in the Schengen area for the three months I am permitted, and then will consider going back to the UK if funds allow. I am open to finding work or a longterm volunteer position along the way, or anything else that feels like the right fit. The beauty is that I don’t know what will happen or how I will feel, but I am open and flexible and will just keep checking in with myself as I go along to decide what comes next.
For the next few months, I will write about my travels and wisdom gained from the road on The Wisdom Shop Blog. I’ll also post pictures when I can. Thanks for reading and following along!
“There are 525,600 minutes in a year. They will pass regardless of how you use them. How many will be memorable? Set out to see something amazing. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Visit a place that will change you forever. They are your precious minutes, make them count.” ― Unknown Author
“When it’s over, I want to say: All my life I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”
― Mary Oliver
“I’d rather be sorry for something I did than for something I didn’t do.”
― Kris Kristofferson