Like all relatively minor decisions in my life, it took me the better part of two months and numerous phone calls to The Old Man to decide if I would travel at all before finally coming home from Euroland after a year of smiling and nodding at the happiest! language! ever! and wordsthatareapproximatelythislong. My worry is that coming home in late June and having The German in town for the first half of July will leave me high and dry during the rush for summer jobs amongst the intense competition of fierce college freshmen. But, there’s also a possibility that this might be my last chance to be only $50 away from Italy.
Hear that guys? I might be coming home. Maybe.
EDIT: I originally drafted this when I had planned on coming home more permanently. See below.
Anyways, The German was supposed to go on a biking trip in Scotland, which didn’t work out. We decided to travel together for a few weeks, and booked a trip down to Trieste, Ljubljana, and Split for about two weeks. For those geographically challenged, or American, that’s Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, respectively. We booked through RyanAir, cuz ain’t nothing like a good vacation without some heart-racing terror. From there, I will head up to Stockholm and Reykjavik for about three days each before finally flying home and into the wide, open arms of a bagel with cream cheese and lox from Zabar’s.
And my parents.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to this trip. I mean, Braunschweig is nice, I guess, and the sun comes out on occasion, but I seriously just want to be in a sundress everyday, getting lost in ancient alleyways, and finishing off the evening with a cold beer in the warm air. Preferably barefoot on the beach. That’s what I want out of those two weeks.
I’ve spent most of the past three years in a variety of countries, meeting people, seeing new places, studying, exploring. In particular, the people I’ve met were of a special breed. The kind that travel with a purpose. They want to learn something, they want to better humanity, they want to discover something. They want to sit in on ancient rituals and to go hiking in undiscovered natural beauty and eat unmentionable parts of unpronounceable animals. And that’s cool. I’ve been like that too. I slept in -5 degrees in northern Sweden. I slept in a Bedouin tent in Israel. I drove from Tangiers to Fes in Morocco, stopping in a few of the small villages along the way. I did a bike trip through the Canadian Rockies. I’ve done quite a bit of the adventurous, WOW COOL stuff. And in general, I’m not opposed to continuing my travels that way in the future.
But, with that said, the following conversation more or less conveys what I want out of our coming vacation:
Me: I’m looking forward to spending our time at the beach, drinking fruity cocktails out of a coconut.
The German: We’re going to Southeast Europe. Coconuts are native to … not Southeast Europe.
Me: Watch me care. WATCH.
Right. So basically, I plan on being in the sun, conservatively exploring the local cuisine, being in the sun, napping a bit, seeing some nature (I mean, Slovenia. Nature. Obviously), napping in the sun, and finding a stupid coconut to drink from on the beach. Realistically, I’m sure this will be open to some changes. I mean, I’m fantastic at being lazy, but two weeks is a long time to do nothing. The point is, I feel a bit guilty. I’m traveling to three of the most culturally rich countries that Europe has to offer, and what do I want to do?
Hang out with my coconut.
But frankly, after hitting up thirteen countries in the past three years and never once seeing a beach (and frankly, hardly ever seeing the sun either), I don’t feel so bad about this. I deserve to be a lazy, bikini-wearing, slightly sunburnt beach bum for a few days. And realistically, this will only be possible in Croatia, since we will be inland in Slovenia and in a city with a rather rocky coastline in Italy. So four days of beachbumming are in my future.
And I don’t feel bad about it at all.
I’m also excited because this trip marks the end of my tendency to move all over the place all of the time. Sort of. I’ll be headed back home for the summer, to be followed by the EDIT above. I got accepted to study an MPhil in Politics, Development, and Democratic Education at the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. So it looks like I’ll be spending nine months starting in October hanging out with the former colonizers, drinking tea, suffering through the local cuisine, and trying to figure out what the hell everyone is saying.
Til then, I guess the weather has decided to warm up, German style. Slowly and while I’m stuck inside working.