Around Europe In Five Months

At home, home is Omaha, Nebraska for those who are curious; I typically woke up on the cliché “wrong side of the bed.” It was a less than desirable way to begin my day and became even worse when people around me would make the subtle comment suggesting that I indeed woke up incorrectly. However, during my stay abroad this has not been not the case. Although I have not once woken up on my usual wrong side of the bed, I continue to find my sleeping pattern somewhat different than before. Now, instead of waking up on the wrong side of the bed, I find myself waking up in different countries.

My study abroad experience has suddenly become a longer version of the 2004 film “Around the World in 80 Days.” Rather, my screening would be renamed “Around Europe in Five Months.”

Prior to my departure for London I had been well aware that traveling was a part of the study abroad experience; that not seizing the moment to see the world when it’s at your fingertips would be an opportunity missed. However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming wanderlust that was about to take over. All of a sudden countries became like Lays potato chips, you can’t see just one.

My “Around The World in Five Months” film began before sunrise in late January, destination Edinburgh, Scotland. Being my first trip outside of London, even in the bitter Highland cold, Scotland captured my heart. It made my embarrassing childhood desire of becoming a princes a reality as I explored numerous breathtaking castles and strolled along the royal court in unison to the sound of a far off bagpipe.

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There was a sense of peace in Scotland that is nearly impossible to find in the rush of central London and I had a newfound love for everything Scottish, except for haggis, which I can go without. I had convinced myself that no place, other than London, was going to top Edinburgh. Well, I thought wrong. I was blinded with the excitement of a new environment that it took the city of lights to clear my vision.

Destination number two: Paris, France. Some may question if the city of love is an ideal destination when, honestly, you are a 21-year-old who has not experienced true love. Well, stop with the questions! From the moment I stepped off my tour bus parked at the foot at the Eiffel Tower, I felt loved and I loved in return. Contrary to popular belief sometimes it is the place you are in and not the person you are with that is significant. The city was my love. The Eiffel Eiffel Tower and the Arch De Triumph quite literally swept me off my feet, the Champs-Elysees showed me jewels that no man can afford, and the sweet crêpes and croissants were more divine than any Valentine box of chocolates. My love for Paris is eternally locked on the iconic love lock bridge and I will forever J’adore Paris.

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Destination number three, Dortmund, Germany. Germany was, and forever will be, the most special trip that I have taken while abroad. Just when I thought Paris was my one true love, I found myself cheating. Seven hours before the scheduled departure time, I had no idea that Dortmund even existed. As a matter of fact, I was sitting in class contemplating how to pass the level of candy crush I had been stuck on let alone travel to another country. My candy crush thoughts were interrupted when my classmate, whom I have become friends with here, leaned over and asked me to accept her extra ticket and accompany her to Germany that night. A spontaneous trip in seven hours for the weekend? It took me less than a minute to accept the adventure. But the spontaneity of the trip is not what made Germany so special and memorable for me. I was lucky enough to be a guest with my friend at her German relative’s house and live a local German life for a long weekend. Although I did not tour the must-see German museums or historic landmarks, I saw so much more. I mastered the game of charades while trying to communicate with her family’s broken English, learned and used a few German phrases myself and was spoiled by her great grandmother’s cooking. For once I was not a tourist; I was part of a family atmosphere that I have so badly missed the past couple of months.

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It seems odd that my dream location and my promised destination to myself, London, is the place I am consistently leaving. I thought London had it all. I thought once I arrived I would never want to leave. However, the longer I stayed the more natural it became and the thrill of a new place was dwindling. Ben started to seem small, the London Eyes were drooping, and the top level of a double-decker bus was losing its roller-coaster thrill.

As much as I needed to satisfy my wanderlust, it was upon my return to London after every trip, and several more to come, that London became my desired destination all over again. The thrill and excitement rushed back to me every time I returned. After every trip it felt as if I was seeing London for the first time. All it took was adventure to bring me back to the place that continues to give me the same butterflies it did the first day I arrived.

Traveling is exciting, it is new, but it is not London.

Kelsey Murphy is a student at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and an official API Student Blogger. Kelsey is studying abroad with API in London, England.

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