This time last year I was relentlessly making German flashcards in hopes that I’d understand something by the time my plane landed in January. This time last year I had no idea I’d meet some of the greatest friends of my life and I’d get to travel more places than I’d ever imagined. This time last year I had no idea that I’d be still unsure of what to do with the rest of my life.
I had high expectations of what this experience would do for me. I thought I would magically know what to study at University, I thought life would make sense, that something would just click. I thought I would become fluent in German. I thought that things would go smoothly the whole year. Instead I just got an insatiable appetite to travel even more.
This year has changed me in a million ways. I can talk to anyone without even worrying about being shy (okay a glass of beer helps too), I can tell my background story in about 5 seconds due to the amount of people I’ve met and exchanged stories with, I can tell you the best hostel to stay in in Berlin and the worst hostel to stay in in Amsterdam, I can tell you I have friends from all over the world- from Australia, to Finland, to Ireland, to the US, all the way to half an hour away from my hometown in Canada. Travel brings people together, you automatically have that shared connection.
I think the fact that I am such a different person now is a huge factor in why I keep trying to get out of getting on that plane in December. I’m scared. Will people understand who I am now? Or will they still treat me as that shy, unsure girl I was just less than a year ago?
Something I have really learned not to take advantage of is the experience. This year has been one of the most amazing of my entire life but also one of the quickest. It feels like just yesterday I was on the longest flight I’ve ever been on, having my first walk around the city when it was still covered in snow, snowboarding in the Alps for the first time, meeting my friends who I still am so close with here, even if they have gone off to Uni and started a new life. But now that I look back to ten months ago I see how much has changed.
In the past few months I have changed my mind about 15 million times on what I plan to do when I get home. I went from not even planning to go home (which included selling my car so I could stay here), thinking of buying a one-way ticket to Australia, to going home and starting Uni again, to working so I can travel more. All polar opposites. And also all still in the running for top choice.
But I know that I will enjoy these last few months more than the first because I have made some of the most amazing friendships and I am going to spend as much time as I can with all the people I love here before I have to move on with my life.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.”