The Full Circle of Travel

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The bittersweet side of travel - once it's over you have to go home.

As you all know I've been galavanting around Europe for the last month. I've been writing along the way about my experiences and the impact that travel can have on your life. It's only appropriate that I wrap everything up with this blog discussing how everything comes full circle in the end.

Seven hostels, six flights, four train rides, and two bus rides later my European vacation is finally coming to its end. I'd like to pretend that I am filled with only joy, but that would be untrue. The reality of going home sets in and you're left feeling a mix of emotions - nostalgia, sadness, and promise.

This trip in particular has really shown me a lot about the world and my role within it. It's amazing to think that in one month's time I could feel so differently about everything I thought I knew.

Nostalgia

I hiked 22 kilometers to stand on the tip of the world with someone I only knew for roughly 12 hours. I met a group of amazing travel bloggers at the TBEX conference who share the same passion for travel and do their best to make it a way of life. Left and right I was crossing major things off my bucket list. Most importantly, I met some amazing individuals who I now consider true friends. It's amazing to think you ended up somewhere in the world at exactly the right moment to meet these people. You fondly think back on the dmc's (deep meaningful conversations) you shared with an an Aussie and his best mate- a sensitive South African guy - who we met in London recently for the best night of our entire trip!

I was fortunate to share nearly half of this trip with a badass lady who inspires me to keep adventuring and learning. I'm a huge advocate of solo travel, but being able to share these moments with someone else changes the entire dynamic. Life is so much easier when you have a friend by your side. For instance, having someone to watch your 30 pound backpack while you use the toilet is the best thing ever. Being able to share long train rides with someone while talking about life becomes a much deeper experience. It's all the little things, really.

Sadness

For this first time in my life I saw some parts of the world that you don't often want to see. But, it's important to absorb the world in its entirety - for better and worse. Seeing poverty stricken countries and their communities who have far less leaves you feeling incredibly grateful, and partly guilty. It's a somber reminder to always focus on what you do have vs. what you don't have, and to do anything you can to give back to the world and its people.

A big part of travel is learning to let go. Let go of the sunglasses you lost, let go of the guy who yelled at you on the train, and at some point you'll start to let go of your past. You realize life is only a series of moments - so be grateful and present while you are in them, because once they're gone they are never guaranteed again. Some people come into your life for a short period of time, but the impact they have on you is engrained in your heart forever. Traveling gives you a lot of time to reflect on every person you ever loved and every person who ever hurt you, and you learn you to let it go and forgive it all - even yourself. On the other side of letting go is a world of new opportunity and happiness.

Promise

And then there is the most amazing aspect of travel - the part that wakes you up inside. You feel refreshed with new insight and knowledge. You've just accomplished a huge goal and you feel on top of the world from all the experiences you had. You have big plans for when you get home to begin working towards your next goals, which you know you can and will accomplish. You've decided to begin to let go of the things that were holding you back - including people. You know the things you need to work on with yourself and the things you need to accept. And perhaps for the first time in a long time you actually feel proud of yourself. You actually feel a little bit in love with yourself.

Going home after this four week trip doesn't seem to be as hard as when I was abroad for two months. Anything you do for two whole months becomes a way of life, so leaving it behind was a lot more painful. I actually feel quite happy about where this trip took me and where it leaves me standing now. I'm sad to stop traveling for the moment, but I'm also anxious to get home and work on bettering myself. Travel comes full circle when the experience inspires you to make changes for the better in your day to day life. You pick up pieces of other places and people along the way that now become a part of you. Copenhagen inspired me to get a new bike and ride it everywhere, hiking Trolltunga has inspired me to venture out into the wilderness of my own backyard in Colorado where I reside, and London has inspired me to move to London and settle down with a British man.

The more I travel the less I change - I actually realize who I've been all along and I let the rest fall away.

I've made it to Amsterdam, one of my most favorite cities! I leave back for the states on August 4th. I will continue blogging in my "normal" life, so please stay tuned!

Upcoming travel: Road trip up the Cali coast to Washington - September 2016 // Japan - October, 2016.