Here’s a story about a freelance writer who packed up her life for the love of travel. Yes, I am that freelance writer who gave up many things to enjoy a life abroad.
It all started in 2008. I was a “junior” in college (That awkward state where you’re in your senior year by numbers but a few credits shy)...
Anyhow, I had the brilliant idea to travel abroad. It was more a “study away” program considering that I was still in the Americas. I got into the program and spent my summer semester in Central America.
I didn’t realize it at the time but it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. In one short summer, I had seen and done things that I would never have imagined.
After that experience I spent the next six years of my life living, loving, maturing and accomplishing life-long goals. While I am aware that I have accomplished more than many 29 year olds (...published periodical writer, column writer and published author…) I was still longing for something more.
I was missing something in my life that no one person could give me. With all that I’d done, I still felt I lacked significant accomplishments.
Girl of the World
I was always pretty confident, but a bit strange and eccentric. I blame my mother and father for that. As a child we always found a way to travel. Whether it was a road trip to our timeshare in Disney World, an historical visit to Virginia or a cruise to Mexico, my parents showed us travel by any means necessary.
If by chance we were unable to go somewhere far, my parents would find some short cultural experience for us to enjoy. My mom would often take us to play tourist in my hometown of New Orleans. We would take strolls through the French Quarter or bike rides through the uptown Carrollton neighborhood.
Occasionally my father would take us on short drives to more rural parts of Louisiana. We’d make roadside stops for tamales sold out of the backs of trucks and perfectly sweetened satsumas that you can only find in these parts of Louisiana.
In addition to traveling, if there was a Broadway play in town, I was there. And attending ballets and classical music performances were the norm for me.
All of these things stuck with me. It made me want to know as much as I could about people, culture and all things of the world.
When I announced that I was temporarily moving to Europe, there was an initial reaction of shock and disbelief. But after the first reaction, people who know me realized that this wasn’t so surprising. I have always taken the road less traveled, made decisions on a whim and pretty much have done just about whatever I wanted to do.
But this trip for me was not a quick decision. It took over a year of self-reflection and conversations with myself about why or why not a move to Europe was a good idea.
I spent this time weighing the pros and cons, changing my destination, and falling in and out of love with the idea.
When I finally decided on Prague, I knew that there was no turning back. I had put my foot down. I told myself, this is the decision you have made and you must stick with it.
It is said that Prague is a great place to visit when you want just enough culture shock without completely leaving your comfort zone.
There were many options out there for me, but Prague spoke to me in a strange exotic way. Initially I would have never considered Prague in The Czech Republic. Some people have no idea where Prague is even located. Some still call The Czech Republic “Czechoslovakia.”
Well, Prague is simply beautiful and historic. It is centrally located for traveling to other regions of Europe. And it is unlike anything I have ever experienced in life. But, it is still weirdly familiar. I’m far from home without completely feeling far.
...TO BE CONTINUED…