The Nervy Traveler
07 May 2019
Bonsoir! Guten Abend! Buenas noches! Oh, hey, didn’t see you there — I was just practicing some evening greetings I might need over the next few weeks. Who am I kidding, though? I don’t talk to strangers.
That’s right, folks. Tomorrow, this temporarily becomes the world’s most average travel blog again as the boyfriend and I take off for over a month (!) of wandering across Europe. I am so excited and also kind of “AaaAaHhHH whO aM i” because this trip snuck up on me and is not a thing that I just…do. And in fact, because of these factors and my awareness of the many bad things that happen in the world and oh yeah also anxiety, I am kinda nervous???
“Wow u poor thing u gotta go gallivanting across the pond n it might be scary :’(“ says the skeptical reader in my head. To which I say, great use of the word “gallivanting.” But also yeah, I am not expecting nor wanting a single soul out there to feel the remotest bit of sorrow for me.
I guess I’m just sharing this because hello, I share most everything, welcome to my blog. And because perhaps there are others who have these worries and might benefit from rethinking them. I signed up for the state department’s “smart traveler” program today and I forgot that when you do that, they immediately show you all of the warnings you could possibly need for each country you’re going to. It told me that all but one of the seven countries we’ll be in are at a Threat Level 2, meaning one step up from Threat Level 1, meaning, “yeah, terrorism possible, but it happens in our country too, so *shrug emoji* be aware.” The way my brain saw this was, “TERRORISM. TERRORISM EVERYWHERE.” You can see how helpful this was 24 hours pre-departure.
The last time I was in Europe was almost four years ago. It was the summer before the terrorist attacks in Paris. I was mostly in Germany, where the migrant crisis was starting to become huge. I was doing an internship, living with a host family, but largely, traveling around The Big City every day totally on my own. And I don’t remember a single time that I felt unsafe. It’s easy for 25 year-old me, who has spent a decent amount of time since then in an antisocial/world-weary hermit crab shell of my own making, to look back now and judge my past self for being so naïve. I could’ve been hurt, could’ve gotten kidnapped, could’ve [insert endless other possibilities here].
But the truth of the matter, when my rational brain challenges my anxious brain to their daily cage match and rationality sometimes prevails, is that any of those bad things could happen to any of us on any day in any place. What a FUN THOUGHT SPIRAL that could become if I let it! More helpfully, I can use it to acknowledge that in spite of those truths and of all my seemingly endless fears, I can’t stay inside in my shell forevermore. Even if I hole up in my house and get all my food delivered, I could get carbon monoxide poisoning, the Uber Eats guy could be a serial killer, or my roof could cave in on me. MORE FUN THOUGHTS! But you see what I’m saying, and you’re probably smarter than I am, so you’re aware of this already. Bad things can happen wherever and whenever, so you can’t let that possibility prevent you from going out and living anyway.
You can, of course, do your best to be safe and prepared as you go out and live. And I am nothing if not mothereffing prepared, gosh darnit. My tiny international-carry-on-sized suitcase and backpack are filled to their maximum capacities with most anything I expect to need over the next month-plus. We’re talking layers, we’re talking shoes, we’re talking I sure hope I can do laundry roughly once a week like I plan to because otherwise I will stank. All of our confirmations and tickets and everything printed out in a handy folder as if I’m a middle aged mother of four (I say this aspirationally, hi mom luv u and respect ur organizational skills immensely). I have my Kindle with at least twenty unread books that I own on it plus a few library loans because I can’t be tamed. Two different outlet adapter/converters because what if one breaks? The computer on which I am typing this very blog post, because I have to keep the public updated and, theoretically, do some work.
And most importantly, I have the boo. The other half. The man, the myth, the reason I’m going on this trip in the first place because it’s technically for his job. I am truly so, so excited for this uninterrupted time with my favorite person and the chance to explore some new places and old favorites together. And boy, will it be convenient having a second person to take all my pictures this time. Just kidding, Steph — at least a few will be selfies.
I’m going to try to do a little post on the blog for each city, maybe after we have left because internet stalkers. In alphabetical rather than chronological order (see aforementioned internet stalkers), we will be in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bern, Brussels, Munich, Paris, and Stockholm. If you want more frequent updates, you can follow khilliterate on the ‘gram, or my personal instagram or facebook if we’re actual real life friends. If you want less frequent updates, just don’t click on the links, okay? I’ll see you again in mid-June.
I hope it’s at least somewhat fun and not just annoying to follow along? Gonna do my best to keep it real and not be an obnoxious #travel #influencer (which is helped by the fact that I have no influence and no one is paying me for this trip, unfortunately). I’d still love to hear if you have any recommendations for the cities we’re going to, or for traveling in general!
Thank you, as ever, for reading and sending me kind words and comments. I love and appreciate each one of you!
Catch ya on the flippity flop,