When I was in 6th grade, my history teacher told us to pick three different countries to send letters to UN ambassadors. He said he does this with his students every year and the ambassadors usually send back letters or gifts. I chose Switzerland, Malaysia and another country I forgot, but the ambassador of Switzerland sent me back a lot of brochures, posters and other random things that I kept in my room and read for entertainment. From then on, I became obsessed with Switzerland, all because of the nice gesture of the ambassador. Who would have known that over a decade later I'd be standing on the top of the tallest mountain in Switzerland, admiring the beauty and the vastness of the Swiss Alps.
They say that when you hit rock bottom, the only choice you have from there is up. At the beginning of the summer, I had hit the bottom. I had lost my job, my car was on its last leg, and I had no idea where my next move was. Luckily, after I cried enough tears and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I realized that this was a great opportunity to do what I've always wanted to do. I had always said that I wanted to travel the world but I never really knew when the opportunity would come up. Turns out, this was the perfect opportunity.
At the beginning of July, I sat in the terminal of Dulles International, ready to take the solo trip to London to meet my best friend to attend Wireless Festival and then join a Contiki tour to the following European cities: Amsterdam, Rhine Valley, Munich, Tyrol Valley, Venice, Rome, Florence, Lucerene and Paris. Yes, it was as exhausting as you think, but I thought go big or go home cause at this point it's not like l had anything to do.
The first question I'm going to answer is this: yes, I did smoke weed in Amsterdam. Now that that's out of the way let's get back to the point. I was really excited to go on my trip because I was ready to be taken out of my comfort zone. I was going to 7 countries whose language I didn't know, (except French) with people I don't know, thousands of miles from home. How would I react to the situation? The unknown was exciting to me and I was ready to see where it headed.
I learned early on to have low expectations and I'm glad I did. Not even in a bad way, I just wanted to be open to any opportunity that comes to me and always keep in mind that some things aren't going to work out the way I want them to. More importantly, I wanted to learn new things about myself and the world around me. Like how Lucerene, Switzerland is apparently a hub for Indian food, or how I absolutely fell in love with the country of Germany and I want to get proposed to in the English Gardens. Or how French people aren't really rude at all even if you know little French.
The best example of low expectations was during my time in Italy. I had the best worst time. First of all, it was hot with the bluest sky I've ever seen, but also the most brutal sun. On top of that, because it's Italy, and EVERY place in the entire country is a tourist spot, tons of people are everywhere and where there's tourist come the vendors. I have never seen so many selfie sticks for sale in my entire life than when I spent my time in Rome.
On top of almost dying from heat exhaustion, forcing my way through the streets, almost getting trampled from a stampede of people running from a crazy man wielding a steak knife and almost getting run over by a cop car, some of my favorite nights on the trip were in Italy. I knocked back endless glasses of wine with other members of my group and really enjoyed getting to know them personally. I'm glad to have met people that I'll always keep in touch with that live around the world. On another note, shoutout to Australians.
Upon coming back to the United States, I realized that things come and go, and sometimes something in your life has to leave in order for something better to take its place. I had a lot of fun being overseas and I want to take the opportunity to capitalize on my youth and the time to travel all over and see the world. I'm hoping that my love of traveling will take me all over the world to learn new things and really admire the beauty of everything around us.