A European love affair
It was the summer of 2004. I held a boarding pass to Athens in my hand and carried a 40-pound pack on my back. Beside me was a childhood best friend and ahead of us was the adventure of a lifetime. As we said our goodbyes to our parents and boarded our flight out of SFO, I had no idea how this summer study program in Greece would forever change my life. Many people say there aren’t many differences between good ol’ ‘Merica and other “westernized” countries. I can say from the first few hours of walking through the streets of Europe, I not only saw the difference, but I felt it. Inside my core. It was as if I had been here before. I belonged here. I found myself here. I felt myself here. The next six weeks were spent discovering new cultures, new ideas, new friends, and new languages as we hostel-hopped through 10 countries across Europe. The love affair with Europe had officially begun.
May 2006. My best friend and I fastened our seat belts and sat giddily as we waited for our Lufthansa flight to take off. A month and half just wasn’t enough. We had saved for a year and planned the trip of a lifetime. Three and a half months, one cruise, 19 countries, and unforgettable memories awaited us. It was official. Europe and I were going steady.
Winter. A time of year when flights and accommodation are more accessible, almost half the price, and American tourists are few and far between. January 2013. An epic five month adventure began. This time, craving the feeling of “living” in Europe. Wanting to feel like “locals”. Coming up on 30, my friends and I were outgrowing hosteling and had recently discovered the beauty of Airbnb. Three months in Spain and two in Croatia. That ought’a do it. I was in love. I may have well sent out the engagement announcements. Europe, will you marry me?
August 2014. November 2014. January 2015. Love? Addiction? Obsession? Home.