How was your spring break?

Lille, France

With our heads held high and voices as nasal as possible, we marched to France. It was our first time traveling together.

Tía Maguiña is a stylish woman, mixing Spanish emotion with French elegance. Her food is amazing, and her house is charming and light.

Thai on a Tuesday night, fairy lights twinkle down the cobblestones. Five people converse in three different languages.

We would sit in cafes and pass notes like 5th graders, pretending to be whoever came to mind. Then at night we would sit upstairs and try not to wake up her family with our fits of laughter.

The smell of a new leather jacket, and the fear of losing umbrellas. Crumpled receipts lining every pocket.

Dancing one minute, fast asleep the next. She’s one of my favorites.

A Train, Belgium

From April of 2016 until May of 2017, I learned how to be by myself. Two years ago, I was worried I wouldn’t know how to travel alone, then I worried I wouldn’t be able to travel with others, and now this year I’m worrying that I won’t know how to travel by myself again. It seems I always have something to worry over.

During this period, I went to five countries and visited eight cities completely solo. What an incredible time of personal growth and confidence building. It was here that I experienced some of my lowest of lows. You feel like you know what loneliness and incapability is, but then something else happens and it drops you even further down that hole. It shatters your self-confidence, but eventually helps to build it back up. I’ve also had some of the best of times too. Traveling alone forces you to connect with people you normally wouldn’t connect with if you had the security of friends around you. Parading around Budapest, grabbing a drink in Glasgow, attending a music festival in Sacramento, or even just sharing a flight to Munich with Mr. I Really Wish I Asked for Your Number.

Since last May however, it seems times have changed. I’ve had a travel buddy on almost every adventure since, and I haven’t planned a solo trip since October. It’s interesting to compare the differences between a year alone, and a year with friends. I think I prefer traveling with friends more, even though I really like traveling alone as well. Friends add an extra few blankets of security, the trip strengthens your relationship, and you get to see a different side of the city if you’re visiting someone rather than staying in a hostel.

Traveling with friends however, makes you less social because of the added security. The weird thing is that you make friends when you’re alone, and you need friends to travel with friends. But when you travel with friends, you don’t typically make new ones. But you still need to make friends in order to travel with friends, because not all of your friends can travel when you want to. I feel like this isn’t making any sense. Having friends and making new ones I suppose isn’t mutually exclusive. But if they were, it would be impossible to make new ones unless you didn’t have any friends to begin with. Oh dear, where even is my mind. Maybe traveling alone and traveling with friends isn’t even comparable. They’re both great experiences that add different dimensions to who I am. And I’m so grateful that I have fun people to travel with, and fun people to visit. 😊

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Home for one night, and gone before the next. Moods change like turning pages. One of my favorite cities in the world, it seems I can’t stay away.

Darkness slowly falls over us, and my heartbeat is racing. Time is running, and expectations are rising.

Pressure, atmosphere, lights, smoke, the crowd moves with them. We’re a mob of moon walkers and everything is electric. I dance like nobody is watching. Sing like nobody is listening.

Piano Man and pizza, just like our first semester.

Fall into bed at 3am, exhausted and events already on replay as I drift off to sleep. Thankful that Thomas lives so close, Hotel Amrit has competition.

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