In 2009 something came over me and I decided that I needed to go to Europe. I am not sure where this sudden desire came from, but before long I was obsessed with it. I made a binder with all of the locations I wanted to go and filled it with pages off of the Lonely Planet website. I flagged basically everything, made tabs, made maps, basically became the most organized person in the world.
When it came down to the actual trip, 3 weeks wasn’t nearly enough to cram in everything we wanted to do. I had to cut some countries here and there, namely Greece, and while it broke my heart, I eventually made it there last autumn.
This was our (Chris and my) first solo trip. We had always been accompanied by our families, and looking back on it, doing your first solo trip is sort of a big deal. We really had no idea what we were doing. But we had the right attitude, and I think that’s what counts.
In the spring of 2010 we began our trip in Amsterdam. That seems insane, but it was very tame. Chris’ Opa from Germany met us at the airport so we had a bit of a cushion. In two days time he took us to their hometown of Bielefeld where we spent a few days eating a LOT of food and seeing the sights around North-Rhine Westphalia. We weren’t truly alone until we bid them goodbye at the train station, enroute to Berlin.
And then… I was hooked. I remember those first steps in Berlin, walking to our hotel, going past the Reichstag under the overcast German sky. We just strolled around, with no plans other than to see what we could see in the short time we had. It was like the calm before the storm. Because the next few weeks were a whirlwind. We saw Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples (Pompeii), and Paris in two short weeks. We saw nearly everything we had planned to see, and eaten more food than I can even remember. Oh to be young and full of energy! But these few weeks sparked something in me that has led me (so far) to 26 countries. I had caught the travel bug. It sinks in and won’t let go. And trust me, there is no cure.