I thought this was my eat, pray, love year. I’d be healthy, clear my mind, find myself (whatever that means), and maybe fall in love with a handsome stranger on a beach in Greece. I would spend hours at a little cafe, drinking espresso, reading, and people watching. I’d become a regular. I’d learn some Spanish and I’d be mistaken for a local. I’d either become one with nature and hike every mountain or become a European fashionista. Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina comes to mind.
What really happened…
I ate my way through Europe. Gained 10 pounds and now have an infatuation with Portuguese banana bread, Spanish paella, and Greek tzatziki. I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of beer in Prague and wine in Italy. I now search for acai bowls in every new country and truffle oil might be gods gift to human kind.
Since leaving in March, I’ve been to 10 countries: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungry, Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and South Africa. Flown on 12 planes, taken 7 trains, spent countless hours in the car listening to Spotify on road trips and too many taxis and Uber’s to count; all while lugging my 50-70 lb checked luggage, a carry-on, and a backpack. I’m exhausted.
My European lover never showed but I did fall in love with my Remote Year group and 3 amazing women who I can now call my best friends. We are all completely different but somehow all chose this same path, which ultimately brought us together.
Although the last 6 months haven’t been the picture perfect, meet cute, romantic, self-awakening experience I envisioned it has been imperfectly perfect. I spent a magical sunset drinking wine and talking about life in Venice. I bungee jumped off an old (probably not safe) bridge in Bulgaria. Spent a weekend meditating and practicing yoga in the mountains. Dove with great white sharks in Cape Town. Crashed a Vespa in Sorrento. Partied with KYGO in Ibiza. Went to jail in Croatia. Walked the stairs of Dubrovnik. Watched burlesque in Prague. Spent Easter in the ancient Budapest thermal baths. Cliff jumped in Santorini. Spent the 4th of July on a gondola and a night on a random couch in Florence when we lost our only set of Airbnb keys.
The saying, some day you’ll laugh about this, couldn’t be truer. Laugh at the chaos, the mistakes, and how crazy wonderful this life really is. Tonight I’ll pour a glass of champagne, watch the sunset, and look forward to the next 6 months.