Sunday, January 15, 2012

Europe Musings: Closing Remarks

It has been almost nine months since I got back from my 24-day solo DIY Europe trip (this post is backdated). The euphoria should’ve faded. But, every time I write another Europe post, I can still feel the happiness. The euphoria wouldn’t die.

Everytime I come back from a trip, my “bubble of happy thoughts” gets bigger. After this trip, I’ve accumulated happy thought bubbles that I would rekindle forever. Random things remind me of random memories that occurred during my trip. As I blog my adventures, I am amazed that it really happened.

Why am I feeling so victorious?  This is one trip I’ve been aching to do forthe longest time. Now I finally did it. An idea was translated to numbers,saved and tracked in an excel spreadsheet, plotted and planned in another workbook then blessed with a stamp in my passport. After all the saving and planning, these finally translated into an actual experience, imprinted in my mind, immortalized in pictures.

The Colosseum in Rome.

I came home with a different perspective. I still love my family, friends and my country too but it feels like there’s a whole world out there that I could love too. After achieving an ambitious goal, I’ve realized I can do more. I can BE more.

As I eased back into reality, I was expecting that I’d do something outrageous and life changing: Like quit my job and spend the rest of my savings traveling around the world. The idea teased me lot when the travel bug bit me. But the thing is, I realized after my three-week backpacking stint, I longed for the comforts of having a routine. I missed my family, my friends, and yes, even the office.

As I sift through hundreds of work emails, I recognized that I valued the experience so much not just because I struck out places in my bucket list: the experience brought back BALANCE to my life. Travel is important to me not just because of the sights, values and lessons; it is important because it reinforced the reason why I am working. That I actually like my work, I just forget that sometimes. It is a life-long pledge to balance work and play. Equilibrium was restored.

As cheesy and as common as it sounds, I feel like I left a piece of me back there. Back in the canals of Venice, the shops in Paris, the streets in Amsterdam. I came back with a piece of those countries. Now what exactly can I do about those pieces? They will be bubbles of inspiration to do another equally ambitious trip.

Because of this success, I’ve been entertaining more ambitious ideas. Like getting a post graduate degree from an international school is not really that impossible anymore. If I’d like to work overseas, I could make that happen too.  The thing is, I have lots of ideas and I don’t know which one to pursue and which are just bold imaginations fueled by the trip.

Some dreams died while others are resurrected. On some days, the dead dreams come alive, and the live ones sleep for a while. I am still figuring out which should be what up to this day. It feels like I can accomplish something bigger for myself. I’ll do that, and get there eventually. Now, I am still basking in my victory. The whole Europe Experience is not easily forgotten.

A collage of my whole Europe trip. With the purple camera case.

My Oscar speech. Thanks to:
God. Thank you for blessing me with this experience. I’ve learned so much from it.
My family. Despite my crazy idea to do backpacking alone, they didn’t stop me.
My best friends, who were there to comfort me when I spilled tears over the first visa denial.
The regular posters in the European Tours thread in Girltalk. I’ve never met you personally, but you’ve been an important instrument in making my dream a reality. Planning became fun!
My work teammates, who shared the burden of my workload when I was gone.
And to all my readers. This blog came alive because of this trip. Your kind and encouraging comments fueled me to recall and write about my adventure.

Thank you very very much. *beauty queen wave*

To the dreamers out there, keep on dreaming. Save for it. Plan for it. The experience is worth every cent.

My theme song for this trip would be “No Boundaries” by Adam Lambert/ Kris Allen. The lyrics of each encouraging song reflect my journey. Cheeeeeeesy right? But I feel that it is so fitting in my whole experience.

Europe, I am definitely going back.


  1. I know how you feel. It's been a year since our grand honeymoon in Europe and I still get giddy when I look at our pictures. I started a blog just to relive those amazing memories again. And I've already made a couple of itineraries for our next trip to Europe! *crosses fingers* The urge to go back is so strong, I can practically taste it. So yeah, I can totally relate. :) Here's hoping we get to revisit Europe again and again and again!

  2. I am itching to go back. SOON! I poured my heart in blogging my Europe adventure to immortalize this adventure. YES! I have a draft itinerary for my next Europe adventure too! Hope it oomes true. Cheers!

  3. Just finished reading all your Europe posts! Wow. I'm definitely going to save-up right after graduating from college and getting a job. I really like travelling alone too and I felt the same way you did while traveling all over Japan alone while I was an exchange student there for a year. Even that sore throat with phlegm thing, I also experienced while in the middle of a trip in Nagoya and it was also winter at that time. I was also staying in hostels the whole time since Japan is also expensive - those were my first times too and it was an eyeopener that hostels aren't actually that bad. :) I'm now thinking of starting a blog so that I'd have a record of the amazing year that has just ended for me. Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog :)

  4. Hey Sophie! Thanks for reading them, hope you got a couple of ideas for your own Europe trip. Solo traveling is a learning experience. And yes, hostels are actually not bad! When I shared that I stayed in hostels, some people cringed at the thought. But it was actually okay - and fun too! Having a blog lets me share my stories with others, and in a way, immortalize all those memories. Wishing you more adventures ahead!


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