A while back I was asked by another student on this trip, “Why France, why did you choose Europe?” I have been asked this question so many times, yet never really had the right awnser. So I guess to anwser that question, I choose Europe because I needed more. I needed more culture in my life. I had to know what else the world had to offer me. I wanted to feel the wind beneath my wings and just go. There were other countries, other trips, but this one gave me the opportunity to do more on my own and experience a summer on my own terms. I love Indiana, it’s my home, and will forever be where my story started and where my life is rooted but I have always had this yearning to experience more from life then what I’ve found in Indiana. So I set out to Europe this summer to see the world in a new light, and fall in love with new sunsets.
When thinking of my time here so far a couple Kenny Chesney lyrics come to mind that have really embodied my adventerous spirit, “Got a rebel soul and a whole lot of gypsy wild style. She can’t be tied down..” For those of you who don’t know me very well I am through and through my mother’s wild child, and she deserves a lot of credit for never trying to tame me. I think she always knew I was born to run with the wind.
I have a need to see it all, experience everything, then turn around and do it all again. I’m not sure what I’m exactly looking for while on this trip, but I think I’m going to figure it out before I return to the states. I’ve already grown so much in just the past 9 weeks I’ve been in Europe. I’m confident in my surroundings yet 98% of the people around me, I can’t communicate with. I have become a pro at traveling by the railways and have truly grown to love seeing the country side going 150 mph from point A to point B. I’ve even figured out the metro routes and the stops along them in Toulouse, London, and Paris like a local and I only been in those cities for a short stay.
There’s just something about being entirely on your own that gives you a yearning to be free. No one knows me and it’s likely I’ll never see a single person again that’s on my train right now. Chances are once we hit Bordeaux, they are gone and that it just that. They don’t know who I was or who I want to be, I’m just another person passing by that they see as they continue on with their lives and that’s kind of crazy to think about. Back home, chances are when I go somewhere I will see someone I know, or I’ll see people again and they will remember me. But when I’m on my own here in France no one knows me, there’s no judgement, or atleast I don’t see or hear any. I am who I am, and everyone is okay with that, often times in the states I feel so tied down as the person everyone sees me as and I forget about who I am and who I want to be. I love that that is all clear here.
This summer has been all about living in the moment and doing things for me. I often forget that in life if you don’t take care of yourself, then who will? So Europe has been my me time. My time to do what I want, meet new people, and fall in love with traveling. And to say I’ve fallen in love with the journey is an understatement. I came to France to study abroad, but the adventures outside of that have meant more to me than any of the classroom time. I thought I would come to Europe, see some sites, and come home satisfied with my travels, but so far it’s only left me wanting to see more. It’s lighten a fire within me that scares me and excites me all at the same time. It scares me because I’m a flat broke college student, doing the unthinkable and traveling Europe for the summer. It excites me because even with that, I’m still doing it and loving every second.
To the people who said I was crazy to “throw away” all of my money to travel, you’re right. I’m crazy to do it, but the richness I’ve gained is something no amount of money will every bring me in life. I’ve always been a little off-kilter, and wild. But learning to live without abandoned and love with all I have are just two of the joys I’ve gained from this experience.
So here’s to living up the rest of the summer, drinking lots of French wine while I’m legal, and learning more about myself with each passing day. I’ll see you in three weeks America.