Best of the Blog, Destinations, Europe, Personal Ramblings, Sweden

Coming Full Circle

Today brings me back to where this all began, Stockholm, and I figured it’d be an appropriate time to reflect on my journey these past two and a half months. I’m staying at City Backpackers Hostel, the same hostel I stayed in the very first night of my trip, and it feels like I’ve come full circle. I’m not the same person who set out on this journey. I’ve seen 12 more countries, 20 more cities, and countless cathedrals. I’ve learned to travel on my own, to figure out public transit in languages that I do not speak, and how to get myself from point A to point B without visiting every point in the alphabet. However, I can’t write that this trip changed my life, I won’t be that stereotype.

This trip has been amazing and it did change my life, in a way. It changed my life in the way that any challenge does, that any day does. What this trip gave me is perspective. I left college a bit of a mess; I was dealing with a messy, painful break up in the worst way possible, with a rebound, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my life post plane ticket to Sweden. Yes, I had my Guatemala plans, but I didn’t (and still don’t) have set graduate school plans. By taking sometime for myself and removing myself from the life that I made in college I was able to see things I hadn’t before. I was able to see that I really did love my ex, but that he was terrible for me and that realization hurt (still does, probably will for a while). I was able to see that I’m a bit terrified of the future, the uncertainty of grad school, and leaving the comfort of university.

There have been moments on this trip when I was drowning in loneliness, missing my people more than I ever thought possible, and moments when I was flying high on joy, relishing each new experience more than the last. I’ve learned to accept each feeling as it comes, to allow for the sadness so that it doesn’t poison the happiness. I’ve learned that sometimes you need the familiar and that’s okay, seek it out, buy a coffee, and read a book. I’ve also learned that sometimes I need a kick in the butt to get out the door, but once I’m out I feel better. This is a fine line that’s different for everyone, but I think I’m finding mine. I didn’t find myself because of the privilege that is international travel for a twenty two year old. I am currently finding myself, because that’s how I am choosing to live my life and I don’t plan to stop when I go home. People view travel as this experience that stops once you get off the plane in your home town, but I refuse to. I refused to forget what I’ve learned on this trip and I refuse to go back to normal. This is my trip through life and it keeps moving forward no matter where I am, be it Ventura or Stockholm.

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