Sunday, February 05, 2012
Euro-Road Trip 2012 has come to an end. I’m sitting in the airport in Amsterdam, which oddly I’ve flown through kind of an inordinate amount over the last four years, waiting on a delayed flight to London for my FINAL COUNTDOWN meetings. That’s not a stressful name for a meeting is it?
The trip was a screaming success. We skied in the Alps, we nipped into Italy one night just to say we went to Italy for dinner. We walked through a zillion cathedrals, ate our own weight in Haribo candy, walked on cobblestones, sat in cafes, looked at works by at least three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle namesakes. We went to Dachau and parts of the Berlin Wall. I bought some art and some lovely boots. I took more photos of Lance with his nose in a travel book than he is entirely cool with but he didn’t break my camera. But maybe the most fun thing was all the talking and laughing and laughing some more and more laughing we did.
I’ve traveled with a lot of friends and never had any trouble getting along with people but this trip has been surprisingly and delightfully easy in that department. Lance and I originally became friends in Boston, hung out a handful of times there and haven’t actually seen each other since an afternoon in San Francisco five years ago. We starting instant messaging quite a bit when I was up at night owl hours and he was working in Korea-this trip hatched on a similiarly late night while he was in Afghanistan getting anxious to finish his deployment and I was getting a little bit panicked about having done this slightly spontaneous and mildly uncharacteristic thing of convincing my boss to just let me stay in Europe between events. I know this might sound a little silly from a 35 year old woman who has been pretty independent for my entire adult life, but I felt like 2011 was the year I finally realized I can do whatever I want. When I was moving to Boston for the first time I went on quick weekend trip to find an apartment. I went to meet up with this girl who was super nice over email and who I had sort of tentatively told I would take her empty spot. The apartment was dark and cold feeling and in a neighborhood that just made me sad. I called my mom that night and broke into big heaving sobs telling her I guess I was just going to have to sign the lease. I still remember the confusion in my mom’s voice as to why on earth I felt like I had to take a terrible apartment that was making me cry simply because I felt some completely internal pressure to help this girl out. Fortunately I came to my senses and told her I was passing on the place but I’ve made plenty of weird decisions over the years kind of based on thinking that you ought to deny yourself some of the things you want. I’m not sure if that’s a factor of being a terribly responsible oldest child, or some odd over application of long held religious restrictions but I can think of way too many times in my life when I thought, “oh I can’t possibly do that.” When I moved to Colorado I decided to make a much more conscious effort to live more deliberately. Could be an early mid-life crisis but I didn’t want to wake up one day and be fifty and have all of my stories sound the same.
So part of this little adventure was just about saying to myself, “why not?” And I was delighted when we got to Munich and started walking around and ducking into buildings that Lance is totally a “why not?” kind of guy. We didn’t really plan too much. I set up all the places we stayed but that was just about as far as we got. We had some guide books and a few things in each city that we felt we really should see but other than that, we just kind of got up, ate something fattening for breakfast and hopped a subway. Lance is very funny and smart (and super handsome too just as a bonus). I’m a quick laugher and appreciate having someone around who can be goofy one minute and then discuss something from the Economist podcast the next (yes, that’s what we have been listening to in the car. Nerd alert.).
I’m certain that I am a travel cliché at this point but now having been away from my regular life for over a month, I feel like I’ve had some time to really think about what I’m really doing with it. We’ve had some good chats about “what we want to be when we grow up,” and it’s always comforting when someone else who seems to have their life together is equally as uncertain as I am.
Now it's full speed through five days in London of site visiting and talking about clothes. I get to see some old friends and well, London is London so even though I am weary of pulling clothes out of a suitcase and sleeping in a different bed every few days, there are certainly worse ways to spend a week.
2012, you are sure knocking it out of the park.